Knicks Add Austin Rivers Via Sign-And-Trade

The Knicks have officially completed their addition of Austin Rivers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets rather than signing him outright, announcing the move today in a press release.

The move also sends the draft rights of three players – guard Sergio Llull, forward Tadija Dragicevic, and forward Axel Hervelle – to New York. In exchange, the Rockets receive the draft rights to guard Issuf Sanon and create a modest trade exception.

Rivers had agreed over the weekend to sign a three-year, $10MM deal with the Knicks. The final two years of his new contract are non-guaranteed, which is permitted under sign-and-trade rules.

The inclusion of Llull in this deal is the most interesting new piece of information. The Rockets have long attempted to get the Spanish guard, who was selected 34th overall in the 2009 draft, to come stateside and play in the NBA, but he has preferred to remain in his home country with Real Madrid — he has played for the EuroLeague club since 2007.

At age 33, Llull seems increasingly unlikely to ever make the move to the NBA. That’s even more true of Dragicevic and Hervelle, who were drafted in 2008 and 2005, respectively, and are in their mid-30s now. However, their rights could be useful as filler in future trades.

Sanon, who has played for Slovenian and Ukrainian teams since being drafted in 2018, is still a candidate to eventually sign an NBA contract. He was the 44th overall pick two years ago and is still just 21 years old.

Of course, the only player of immediate importance in the deal is Rivers, who will add some veteran experience to the Knicks’ backcourt in 2020/21. He averaged 8.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG on .421/.356/.703 shooting in 68 games (23.4 MPG) for the Rockets last season.

New York will technically be hard-capped as a result of acquiring a player via sign-and-trade. The team remains far below the cap for the time being though, so it’s fair to assume that $138.93MM hard cap won’t become an issue in 2020/21.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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40 thoughts on “Knicks Add Austin Rivers Via Sign-And-Trade

  1. GabeOfThrones

    I love all of Leon Rose’s wheeling and dealing. He isn’t sitting around waiting for draft picks and young players to bloom into superstars. He’s working hard to carve out assets anywhere he can get them. I know Perry is still technically the GM, but this approach is so wildly different that it’s obvious that this is all Rose. It seems like he fully understands the obvious blueprint to success in the NBA: acquiring draft assets and leveraging available cap space. Some of those draft assets could turn into superstars themselves, some can be packaged in trades. Excited to see where this goes.

    • Sillivan

      Only Knicks own draft assets can turn into superstars
      Unless it’s for superstar Westbrook

    • Regi Green

      The obvious blueprint?

      When did the Lakers load up on draft picks? How about the Warriors,or the Raptors,or the Heat,or the Spurs?

      Cavaliers had multiple 1st picks,but it still took LeBrons return to even get them to the playoffs.Celtics won when they dumped their youth for Garnett and Allen.Since then Single has been collecting draft picks,and winning nothing.The 6ers tank and collecting of draft picks hasn’t lead to nothing.

      The only blueprint for success in the NBA is that you need star players.

      • Regi Green

        And LeBron.LeBrons the other blueprint.Him and one other star,you’re probably going to the finals.Him and 2 stars,you’re probably winning a chip.

        • GabeOfThrones

          Exactly deathbydeathwest…there’s also no way Lebron is joining the lakers without them having a stockpile of young assets and draft picks, even before they were packaged for AD. Modern NBA superstars aren’t stupid. They’re not wasting their careers with teams with bad management. The Knicks have been poorly run since the late 90s. Only one superstar has come to New York because of the misguided logic that the city itself is somehow a bigger selling point than a functional front office: Carmelo Anthony. And the Knicks gutted their roster to get him one year before he hit free agency, which ultimately doomed that team. If they love New York, they can buy a condo there and party in the off-season. The fact that their only homegrown star since Ewing couldn’t wait to get out tells you everything you need to know. I didn’t like the Knicks keeping Scott Perry, but now I realize that he doesn’t have any real say in the direction of the team, so it doesn’t really matter. Leon Rose gets it. Trust the process.

        • Regi Green

          Lakers traded a collection of young players for Anthony Davis,thats true.But they drafted those players over a 4 year period,they didn’t spend their time collecting draft picks.

          Only team that collects draft picks and has remained successful is the Celtics.Every other draft pick collecting team is still trying to find their way into the conversation.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Lakers ????
        I guess you don’t know Lakers have AD . Best way to find star players. Is in the draft. Go back to MLB board

      • Most of the Laker capital was the result of getting top 2 draft picks in three consecutive years. But Lakers certain acquired later 1st round picks during their rebuild, using cap space (salary dumps) and veterans. Turned them into Nance, Kuzma and Hart. Nance was used to rid themselves of Clarkson’s contract, which allowed them to open up the cap space they needed to lure LBJ. Cavs also couldn’t have signed LBJ without using their extra picks to shed salary to open up cap space. They also had four top 4 picks on their roster, or they win nothing, with or without LBJ.

        What’s never happened (at least since the 1970’s) is a championship team being built using a standard trade to acquire a foundational (first) star player; versus the draft and, in a few recent cases, free agency. Reasons are obvious.

        • Regi Green

          Having the young players to trade for Ad helped,but this year’s Lakers championship team was built from the start,by signing LeBron.They didn’t win with the players they drafted.

          • Regi Green

            And they still didn’t load up on draft picks.They had a low period between Kobe and LeBron,and they rebuilt their team.They didn’t reserve cap space to collect 2nd round picks.

      • In addition to proving him right when you say things like ‘Celtics won when they dumped their youth for Garnett and Allen’ (ie, they packaged draft assets for superstars*), it is quite clearly the ‘obvious blueprint’ for the Knicks since no superstar is going to outright sign with them until they can prove they have a decent core.

        *two first rounders plus a slew of recently drafted players for Garnett; 5th overall pick Jeff Green, recent first rounder Delonte West, and a 2nd for Allen

        • Regi Green

          Nobody is going to New York because they know the owner is garbage.Thats the saddest part,they’re in New York.Thats a place players would normally wanna go,but not with Dolan.

          And the Celtics are the only example there is of pick collecting actually working,and they came away with 1 chip.I bet there’s alot of Celtic fans out there that wish Ainge would push those chips in again.

          • buttholesurfer69 2

            So what would you suggest NYK do then? Sign more players like Randle to large contracts and try to make the 8 seed?

            Given the options it seems like this is a comparatively good summer for them

  2. Sillivan

    If Giannis stays and Rose is not able to steal superstars from LA

    Then next summer Knicks can acquire two best free agents
    Oladipo
    Jrue Holiday

    Next summer free agents are the worst if

    • buttholesurfer69 2

      Right right

      and if they’d signed Van Vleet or Gallo to huge contracts you would be saying Oh now they cant get Giannis

  3. Sillivan

    Las Vegas future odds
    Worst in the East
    Cavs
    Knicks
    Worst in the West
    Wolves
    Kings

  4. GoLandCrabs

    I love how the draft rights from players drafted well over 10 years ago get traded just for the heck of it

    • hiflew

      Atlanta still has the right to a guy that was drafted in 1986. Something Volkov. The guy was actually drafted out of the Soviet Union and if that doesn’t tell you how long it has been, nothing will. And he still remains a tradable asset for them. It’s ridiculous.

      • El Don

        Alexander Volkov was a phenomenal player that dominated Europe & was part of the great USSR team from the 80’s.
        Also he played for 3 seasons, 149 games for ATL in the early 90’s.
        He was one of those many euro guys who never had a real chance in those early days, but if he was playing now been a SF of 6’10” with great mobility & decent shot, oh boy he would be unbelievable in the league.
        For some reason ATL played him at the 5 which didn’t help as he always played the 3-4 in Europe, guy was pretty skinny in those days with big bruisers playing the 5.
        Anyway, I don’t know if ATL can still have the draft rights for a guy who played for them 3 seasons, that I don’t know!

        • Also, @hiflew, looking at the comments, you made a funny one regarding Binelli on that article.

        • hiflew

          It was Binelli I was thinking of, I must have remembered a Volkov basketball card I had when he was playing for Atlanta and the name stuck in my head. Just consider it a old man moment.

  5. Not sure I understand the purpose of doing a S&T (vs just signing Rivers) from the Knicks standpoint. They had plenty of foreign player rights to trade if they need to add something to a deal. At least 4, including Sanon. Rockets get a small TPE and a guy who may play in the NBA at some point (Sanon).

    • That’s a great question and one I have as well. Why not just sign Rivers as a free agent? What’s the advantage of an S&T? If you find out let me know.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        Sergio Llull is still considered a somewhat valuable asset, at least compared to having the rights to most overseas players. Houston spent over $2M to get him from Denver.

        • KnickerbockerAl

          S&T strictly for first team to get value. Get something instead of losing him for nothing. Or it makes it easier to complete trades for cap purposes. But I believe the player has all rights. If he is unrestricted FA.

      • Maybe Luke knows. Rose is an agent, by trade and background, and he may have some free money to play with later in the year.

        • Luke Adams

          The only possible motivations I can think of are:
          1. They like Llull and think he may still come over and be productive.
          2. They want to hoard some of those draft-rights-held guys just in case they need them in trades.
          3. They don’t really care about giving the Rockets a $3MM-ish TPE and want to build good will there (though building good will is more common between agents and teams, rather than between two teams).

  6. djc1877

    I like how Rose is doing the Rockets a solid. These “favors” like creating a TPE for them helps form allies in the league that could pay off down the road when looking for someone to be a third team in a deal or include an asset like these to facilitate a deal later.

  7. Sillivan

    If Knicks really want Westbrook, Rose should overpay VanVleet at 100 million contract then trade him and 3 unplayable young talents to Rockets for Westbrook

    • andremets

      That’s not how it works. A)Van Fleet already resigned with the Raptors. B)you can’t sign a free agent and immediately trade him. C)why would anyone want “unplayable “ young talent. Maybe you mean young players who are blocked by veterans?

  8. DeathbyDeathwest

    Rockets approach reminds me of the guy who traded a paper clip for (eventually) a house.

    They’re loading up on paperclips, and that’s where the comparison ends.

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Llull is considered NBA talent. A solid backup at PG. You never know. He might want to end it in NYC. A solid vet for young team. Plus NY can help his career after NBA. Not counting on him. Just stating facts.
    I look at Rivers as a good vet, good signing. I think they will move a few guards ( Payton, Smith, Nttilikina). Two of them probably gets moved by end of yr. Even Rivers could help a contender at TD. Much like we moved Morris last yr. It’s a smart move. I believe Randle will be moved. Even Knox could be moved. Next yrs draft is deep.

    • mlbnyyfan

      I still have hope for Knox unless they move RJ to small forward and get a better shooter for the 2 guard spot.

      • buttholesurfer69 2

        I mean at this point w/ Knox they might as well run it back with him. He can’t be worse than last year. Same w/ DSJ

        Hopefully they bounce back

  10. MarlinsFanBase

    Wow…the Rockets and their fans have got to be laughing at this.

    Only the Knicks would trade pieces to get Austin Rivers in a S&T.

    And people wonder why they have a long history of mediocrity.

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