DECEMBER 24, 11:09am: The Rockets have officially signed Rivers to a rest-of-season deal, announcing the news in a press release.
DECEMBER 23, 1:34pm: Rivers will get back the $650K he gave to Phoenix in his buyout agreement, plus nearly $500K more from the Rockets, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Houston’s cap hit will fall between $914K and $931K, depending on when his signing becomes official. The Rockets don’t play again until Tuesday.
His contract will be fully guaranteed for the rest of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Houston has an open roster spot, so no corresponding move will be necessary. The Rockets have part of their mid-level exception remaining, but there’s no word on whether Rivers will receive more than a veteran’s minimum contract. His new salary will cut into the $12MM still owed to him by the Suns, who waived him earlier this week.
Houston has a need for guard help with Chris Paul sidelined for at least the next two weeks with a strained hamstring. The move reunites the former Clippers teammates, who had an uneasy relationship when they were together in L.A. Sources tell Wojnarowski that Paul had no objections to signing Rivers, understanding that the team needs immediate backcourt help (Twitter link).
The agreement with the Rockets caps an eventful nine days for Rivers, who was involved in a canceled three-team trade, then was dealt to the Suns the next day. He reached a buyout agreement with Phoenix and has been looking for an opportunity with a contending team that could offer him consistent playing time. Houston qualified when Paul got injured Thursday night.
Rivers was having a productive first year in Washington after being acquired from the Clippers in an offseason trade. Used mainly in a reserve role, he posted a 7.2/2.4/2.0 line through 29 games.