The three-year free agent contract agreed upon by the Clippers and Austin Rivers this July looked like one of the least surprising moves of the summer, as Rivers opted to continue playing for his father, Doc Rivers, in Los Angeles. As Dan Woike of The Orange County Register details, however, Rivers drew interest from several teams, including the Rockets, Knicks, and Nets, and the 24-year-old suggests he was offered more money by at least one other suitor.
“I took less to come back here,” Rivers said of the Clippers. “I’m not taking this for granted. I was on a team where it was very bad. There are only four or five teams in the league with a realistic chance to win this year, and I think we’re one of them. I’m not taking this for granted. I know if I go somewhere else, I might not ever be on a team like this again. A lot of people go their whole career and never play on a team like this.”
After averaging a career-high 8.9 PPG in 67 regular-season games with the Clippers last season, Rivers increased his value further in the playoffs, assuming a greater role after Chris Paul went down with a hand injury. In L.A.’s last game of the season, as the team attempted to stave off elimination, Rivers put up 21 points and eight assists.
Rivers’ new deal with the Clippers is worth nearly $34.5MM over three years, so it’s unlikely that the Duke alum took a significant hometown discount. But he may have passed up the opportunity for more minutes and a bigger role with another team, as his head coach points out.
“He could’ve had that opportunity,” Doc Rivers said of his son. “For him to come back, it shows that winning is far more important and he enjoys the group.”
Ultimately, the Rockets and Knicks addressed their shooting guard needs in free agency by signing Eric Gordon and Courtney Lee, respectively. The Nets added Jeremy Lin, and signed Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe to offer sheets, which were matched.