Austin Rivers

Nuggets Re-Sign Austin Rivers

SEPTEMBER 1: Nearly a month after initially agreeing to terms with Rivers, the Nuggets made the deal official on Tuesday, per NBA.com’s transactions log. The one-year contract is believed to be worth the veteran’s minimum, though that has yet to be formally confirmed.


AUGUST 2: The Nuggets have agreed to re-sign Austin Rivers to a one-year contract, agents Aaron Mintz and Dave Spahn tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

After signing with the Knicks as a free agent last offseason, Rivers had a short-lived stint in New York. He was traded to Oklahoma City and subsequently waived before joining a Nuggets team that was hit hard by backcourt injuries down the stretch.

With Jamal Murray and Will Barton sidelined, Rivers played big minutes for the Nuggets in his 15 regular season games with the club, averaging 8.7 PPG, 2.6 APG, and 2.1 RPG on .418/.375/.706 shooting in 26.9 minutes per contest. He played even more in the postseason, starting nine of 10 games and averaging 9.2 PPG on .435/.413/.813 shooting in 30.5 MPG.

With Murray’s absence expected to stretch well into 2021/22, there should be playing time available for Rivers going forward.

It has been a busy night for the Nuggets. Less than four hours into free agency, they’ve already agreed to re-sign Rivers, Barton, and JaMychal Green while also lining up a deal with free agent forward Jeff Green. Denver now has 15 players who project to be on the regular season roster, so the team may be done shopping for the time being.

Nuggets Notes: Rivers, Murray, N’Dong, Fall

Austin Rivers delivered a 21-point performance for the Nuggets while playing 37 minutes in Game 3 against Portland. Rivers, who was an afterthought with the Knicks and got waived by the Thunder after New York traded him, has been a perfect fit with the Nuggets, head coach Michael Malone told Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

“Austin needed a team and we needed a player,” Malone said. “We were decimated by injuries. Austin was out there, he was available. … The timing, the need of it, was perfect on both ends.”

Rivers signed a rest-of-the-season deal after an audition on a 10-day contract.

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Rivers is hopeful the Nuggets will re-sign him when he becomes a free agent again this summer, Singer tweetsThe goal’s to be here long-term,” he said. “It’s just been a natural fit. I can’t speak for them, I know it’s a business … I love this team, that’s all I can say.”
  • Jamal Murray may be out for the season with a torn ACL but he’s still a major presence on the team’s bench, serving as a de facto coach, Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post notes. “His energy, his presence and his positivity are really impactful,” Malone said.Monte (Morris) is still a really young player in terms of NBA experience. But Facu (Campazzo) is a rookie. Markus Howard is a rookie. Shaq Harrison has played in the NBA, but these are his first playoff games. … A guy like Jamal who has 33 games of playoff experience at a high level, he can also be impactful in terms of helping those guys with what they’re facing on the court.”
  • Nuggets player development coach Boniface N’Dong and front office associate Dethie Fall, natives of Senegal, believe the new Basketball Africa League will have a major impact on African players and the NBA, Alex Labidou of the team’s website writes. “Africa has a lot of talent,” said N’Dong, who is also the head coach of the Senegal national team. “Africa is pretty big, there are 52 countries. I think you’re going to see a lot of [Pascal] Siakams, a lot of [Joel] Embiids, and a lot of Gorgui Diengs coming out of nowhere.”

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Millsap, Rivers, Barton

Part of Nikola Jokic‘s rise to being an MVP finalist has been his ability to adjust to different teammates, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. A string of roster moves and injuries, most notably to Jamal Murray, have shaken up the Nuggets‘ lineup throughout the season, but Jokic’s production hasn’t fallen.

Singer notes that Denver’s starters for tonight’s Game 1 of the playoff series with Portland will likely be Jokic, Michael Porter Jr.Facundo CampazzoAaron Gordon, and Austin Rivers. Porter is in his first year as a full-time starter, Campazzo is a rookie who has made 19 NBA starts, Gordon has been with the team for 25 games following a midseason trade, and Rivers has played 15 games after signing with the Nuggets last month.

“The attention that (Jokic) draws, being able to do so many things, not just score the ball, but pass and the way he passes and makes plays so easy for his teammates, makes him so unique to play with,” two-way guard Markus Howard said. “… Just the attention that he brings from opposing defenses, and his ability to be creative with the pass, is unlike anybody I’ve ever played with.”

There’s more on the Nuggets:

  • After a decade as an NBA starter, Paul Millsap has adjusted to a reserve role since the trade for Gordon, as Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post writes. The 36-year-old power forward is trying to lead by example and make the best of his new responsibilities. “There are challenges that come with it,” Millsap said. “I want to compete. I want to play every single minute during a game. But that’s not possible and that’s what you have a team for. I’ve always been a guy (to do) whatever the team needs.”
  • Rivers is suffering from a non-COVID related illness, but the Nuggets are optimistic he will be able to play tonight, Singer tweets. He is officially listed as questionable.
  • Will Barton is hoping to be able to play in this series, but it won’t happen in Game 1, according to Clevis Murray of NBC Sports Northwest. Barton has been ruled out for tonight because of the strained hamstring that has sidelined him since April 23. PJ Dozier also remains out with a right adductor strain. “I think Will is definitely closer (to returning) than PJ,” coach Michael Malone said.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Norman Powell, Trail Blazers, 27, SG/SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2018

Powell was a popular name at the trade deadline as numerous teams pursued the high-scoring wing. Portland won the sweepstakes by giving up a solid young player in Gary Trent Jr., as well as Rodney Hood. Powell has an $11.6MM option on his contract for next season but he’s widely expected to decline it. He’ll be popular once again after the season, this time as an unrestricted free agent. He has struggled somewhat with his 3-point shooting since Toronto traded him but he’s still averaging 17.2 PPG with the Trail Blazers. His price tag will rise even more if he excels in the postseason.

Georges Niang, Jazz, 27, SF/PF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $5MM deal in 2018

The Jazz don’t ask Niang to score a whole lot – he’s mainly limited to a few 3-point opportunities per game – but he does all the little things necessary to retain a rotation spot on a team with the league’s best record. He’s appeared in every game this season, averaging 15.9 MPG. With several key teammates sidelined lately, Niang has stepped up his offensive production, scoring in the double-digits in eight of the last 12 games. An unrestricted free agent, Niang seems like a nice fit in Utah, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he stays put. If not, he’ll be valued as a reliable second-unit player.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Thunder, 23, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.6MM deal in 2018

Mykhailiuk had a golden opportunity to post some big numbers on a tanking team when the Pistons traded him to the Thunder. It would be unfair to say Mykhailiuk has flopped but he hasn’t really built up his value. He’s continued to struggle with his 3-point shot (32.2%), though he’s shown more willingness to drive to the basket and collected some steals on the defensive end. His qualifying offer is only $2MM, so there’s incentive for Oklahoma City to make him a restricted free agent. But Mykhailiuk probably won’t get an offer sheet, so he’ll either have to sign the QO or work out a contract with the Thunder.

Austin Rivers, Nuggets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $270K deal in 2021

Rivers basically found himself in exile in New York this season. Unable to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, Rivers wound up being a throw-in at the trade deadline, then was promptly waived by Oklahoma City. Jamal Murray’s season-ending injury led to Denver offering him a 10-day contract and Rivers soon earned a rest-of-the-season deal. With Will Barton also sidelined by a hamstring injury, Rivers not only finds himself in the rotation but also in the starting lineup. He’s averaging 15.2 PPG over the last five games while draining 19 of 36 3-pointers. The postseason will give Rivers even more chances to attract interest in the free agent market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Nowell, Towns, Maledon, Rivers

Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell had a rough time coming back from a right tibia contusion suffered on April 3, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune details. He tried to come back 10 days later and shot 1-for-14 from the field in two games. After taking some time off, Nowell returned on Friday and saw 25 minutes of action on Sunday against Orlando.

“It affected my shot the most,” he said. “I was really shooting off one leg and trying to come back, I came back a little too early; I came back when I was still hurting.”

Nowell, the team’s 2019 second-round pick, has a non-guaranteed $1.78MM contract for next season.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Karl-Anthony Towns will remain with the Timberwolves long term if the franchise continues to add quality pieces, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic speculates in an interview with Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto. ‘Ultimately, what it comes down to is will the Timberwolves put a winning team around Towns? If they don’t, eventually, he will go. If they do, I think he’ll stay for a long time,” Krawczynski said. “I don’t think that this summer is the be-all and end-all for it. I think he’s got one more year at least of seeing how this is all going to work out.”
  • Rookie Theo Maledon finds himself in a much different role with the Thunder than when he began the season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. With many players injured or sitting out, Maledon has become more of a scoring guard. “The injuries and the new guys on the roster forced me to be that kind of guy, be more aggressive and have more opportunity to create for me and my teammates,” he said. The early second-round pick has averaged 12.4 PPG since the All-Star break.
  • Austin Rivers has learned to become more of a team player, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. Rivers, who signed a rest-of-the-season contract with the Nuggets late last month after completing a 10-day deal, has scored 55 points over the last three games while receiving extensive playing time. “When you have a fresh start like (in Denver) … and then you just stop trying to put so much emphasis on yourself,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest difference in my game right now and just my approach as a player. I’ve given myself to the team. Whether I play 35 minutes or five minutes, I’m going to be positive as hell.”

Knicks Notes: Rivers, Vildoza, Future

After Austin Rivers matched his season high with 25 points for the Nuggets in Wednesday’s win over the Knicks, teammate Michael Porter Jr. told reporters that Rivers was “trying to get those dudes back” after a difficult stint in New York earlier this season (Twitter link via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News).

However, while Rivers may have been motivated by playing his old team, he declined to air any grievances with the Knicks when asked about his exit from the franchise earlier in 2020/21.

“It doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t even want to get into that,” Rivers said (link via Bondy). “I don’t have any negativity towards the Knicks. Let’s just be clear. I’m actually very close with a lot of guys on the team. Obviously, things happened… (but) I don’t want to bring any of that to light. They’re doing so well right now. … I really am happy for them.

  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes a look at what sort of player the Knicks are getting in newly-signed guard Luca Vildoza, while Marc Berman of The New York Post spoke to Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo about the same subject. “He has something special in his game. Sooner or later, we knew he was going to play in the NBA,” Campazzo said of his teammate from the Argentinian national team. “I think he’s going to make an impact here. I believe he can make it and is going to improve a lot in his game here. He can be here many years.”
  • Vildoza’s buyout from Baskonia cost $2MM, writes Berman for The New York Post, citing a report out of Spain. NBA teams are prohibited from contributing more than $750K to a buyout this season, so Vildoza had to make up the $1.25MM difference himself. The terms of his deal with the Knicks made that more palatable, as he’ll earn $3.5MM in 2020/21 despite signing so late in the year, Berman notes.
  • The Knicks’ success this season is even more encouraging because the team is set up so well for the future, according to Tommy Beer of BasketballNews.com, who points out that New York has a clean long-term cap sheet and control several extra first-round picks in upcoming drafts.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Clarkson, Jokic, Rivers

Asked this week during an appearance on The Star Tribune’s Daily Delivery podcast about the trade that sent Andrew Wiggins and a lightly-protected first-round pick to Golden State in exchange for D’Angelo Russell at the 2020 trade deadline, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas expressed no regrets, writes Michael Rand of The Star Tribune.

Even if Rosas – with the Timberwolves in position to give up a possible top-five pick to the Warriors – was having second thoughts about the trade, it’s not as if he’d be inclined to admit as much during a podcast appearance. But Rand said he felt as if the Wolves’ president was being honest and forthright in his assessment of the deal.

“As of now, I think our resurgence has happened with D’Angelo’s return, so that’s paying dividends now,” Rosas said. “We put the protection in the pick that we felt like was critical to keeping the pick. At some point you’re going to give the pick up whether it’s this year or next year. We’re firm believers. We did it for a purpose. We’re seeing the return on that deal now.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • After bouncing from Los Angeles to Cleveland to Utah during his first few NBA seasons, Jordan Clarkson has found an ideal fit with the Jazz, Tony Jones of The Athletic writes in an extensive look at the Sixth Man of the Year candidate. “The organization has let me be myself, and that’s meant a lot,” Clarkson said.
  • When the Nuggets clinched a spot in the first round of the postseason this week, it secured a $500K bonus for Nikola Jokic, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Since that bonus had already been deemed likely entering the season, it’ll have no impact on Denver’s cap.
  • After scoring 25 points on Wednesday against his old team (the Knicks), Austin Rivers had nothing but praise for his new team, the Nuggets, per Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. “This has been a life-saver and (life)-changer for me, coming (to Denver),” Rivers said. “I’ve never experienced a team, an organization, like this, (where it’s) so about ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ …. They just build everybody up here. That’s why (Michael Porter Jr.) plays the way he plays and Jokic and all these guys. They just build everybody up here. So I just feel kind of lucky. Honestly, I’m just lucky to be here and thankful to be here.”

Nuggets Sign Austin Rivers For Rest Of Season

APRIL 30: The Nuggets have officially signed Rivers for the remainder of the season, the club confirmed today in a press release.


APRIL 29: The Nuggets and Austin Rivers have reached an agreement on a rest-of-season deal, which they’ll complete after his 10-day contract with the team expires on Thursday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As Mike Singer of The Denver Post explains (via Twitter), Rivers made a strong positive impression on the Nuggets’ coaching staff and front office during his first 10 days with the team. As a result, Denver will forgo a second 10-day contract for the veteran guard in favor of a rest-of-season commitment.

Rivers, who has been thrown into the deep end with guards Jamal Murray (ACL) and Will Barton (hamstring) both on the shelf, has averaged 24.2 minutes per game in his first five appearances with the Nuggets.

The 28-year-old’s numbers so far have been modest – 5.2 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, and .345/.167/.750 shooting – but his career track record suggests he’s capable of more. He posted 7.3 PPG on .430/.364/.714 shooting in 21 games (21.0 MPG) with the Knicks earlier this season.

Assuming Rivers’ new contract is formally completed on Friday, it should pay him about $270K for the rest of the season. Denver would have a cap hit of approximately $189K.

With Rivers in the fold, the Nuggets have a full 17-man roster, so barring any cuts over the next couple weeks, they appear prepared to enter the postseason with their current group.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Rivers, Russell, Deck, Powell

Prior to Wednesday’s game against Portland, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters that the team didn’t bring in Austin Rivers just to “hang out” and that the plan was to incorporate him immediately, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Malone delivered on that promise by playing Rivers for 13 minutes in Wednesday’s win — the veteran guard scored five points and added three rebounds.

After the game, Rivers said he reflected on his situation a lot since being traded and waived in March, and arrived in Denver determined to be a professional teammate who brought a “positive energy” to the Nuggets (Twitter link via Singer).

In addition to that positive energy, Rivers should bring capable outside shooting, shot creation, and perimeter defense to a backcourt that has been hit recently by injuries, writes Eric Spyropoulos of Nuggets.com.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • When D’Angelo Russell returned from his knee injury earlier this month, the Timberwolves had him coming off the bench on a minutes limit. Russell’s minutes should increase a little going forward, to about 30 per game, per head coach Chris Finch, but he’ll continue coming off the bench for the time being, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes. “It’s the plan eventually to get him into the starting lineup, but we’re all comfortable where he is,” Finch said.
  • Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said on Wednesday that there’s still no update on the arrival of recently-signed forward Gabriel Deck, who is being held up visa issues. “Still working through it. Trying to get him here, trying to get him locked in,” Daigneault said (Twitter link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). “We’d like to certainly have him join us and see him play for as many games as possible.”
  • Asked about his upcoming free agency, Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell said he’s too wrapped up in the playoff race to think about much yet, per Jason Quick of The Athletic. “I’m looking at everything, evaluating everything,” Powell said. “It’s a little different for me now because I thought I would be in Toronto. It was like home, and you always want to stay home. But now, it’s like a different perspective, learning about a different organization and how they operate.”

Nuggets Sign Austin Rivers To 10-Day Contract

APRIL 20: The Nuggets have signed Rivers to a 10-day contract, according to Singer. Denver has announced in a press release that it’s official, so it will run through April 29, covering the team’s next six games. The deal will pay Rivers $158,907, with the Nuggets taking on a $110,998 cap hit.


APRIL 14: The Nuggets are negotiating with free agent guard Austin Rivers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic, who adds that they are in “serious talks” toward a deal, pending health and safety protocols. The team’s interest in Rivers was first reported on Monday.

Rivers is currently in Denver and is expected to sign within the next few days, a source tells Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). It will likely be a 10-day contract, Singer adds (Twitter link).

The Nuggets are need of backcourt help after losing star guard Jamal Murray for the rest of the season with a torn left ACL. Denver has a roster opening and can add Rivers without a corresponding move.

Rivers, 28, signed with the Knicks during the offseason, but was never able to establish himself in the rotation, averaging 7.3 points and 2.0 assists in 21 games. He was traded to the Thunder at last month’s deadline and was waived a few days later.

Rivers would be eligible for the postseason because he wasn’t on an NBA roster beyond April 9, Singer notes (Twitter link). He offers plenty of playoff experience, having reached the postseason five times, including the past two years with the Rockets.