Austin Rivers Not On Knicks’ Bench For Saturday’s Game

The end of Austin Rivers‘ stay with the Knicks could be close after he wasn’t on the bench for Saturday’s game, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post.

A team official told Berman that Rivers was at Madison Square Garden, but was getting treatment for a sore ankle. He wasn’t listed on the pre-game injury report and there was no mention of an injury in the box score, where he was designated as DNP-Coach’s Decision.

Rivers was removed from the rotation after the Knicks traded for Derrick Rose three weeks ago. Elfrid Payton has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, but coach Tom Thibodeau gave the extra minutes to little-used Frank Ntilikina instead of Rivers.

Rivers, 28, signed a three-year contract with New York in November, but only the first season of the deal is guaranteed. Through 21 games, he is averaging 7.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 21.0 minutes per night. He has played five total minutes in the last nine games and was the only player not used in Thursday’s blowout of the Kings.

A sprained ankle suffered by veteran big man Taj Gibson Saturday night could hasten Rivers’ departure, Berman adds. The Knicks, who are already without starting center Mitchell Robinson, have a full roster and would have to waive someone to add another frontcourt player. Thibodeau said after the game that team president Leon Rose “will look into players that are available.’’

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