With how desperately the Sixers need bench help, every name that comes up will be of interest.
Enter Austin Rivers.
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Rivers is expected to be waived by the Suns after being moved to Phoenix from Washington in the Trevor Ariza deal. Rivers' $12,650,000 cap hit helped the Wizards facilitate the deal, but there's no real spot for the 26-year-old guard on the Suns' roster. An earlier report had Rivers on his way to Memphis, but as of this posting, "four to five other teams are still expressing interest," and the Grizzlies haven't made a formal offer.
So should the Sixers have interest in Rivers? At first glance, the answer is "no," but let's examine the case.
First, let's talk about what he brings to the table. He can score and he's certainly not afraid to shoot. He was over 37 percent from three during his last two seasons in L.A. before a miserable and brief tenure in D.C. He has playoff experience, having played 23 postseason games.
There are plenty of concerns. For his career, he's a 35 percent shooter from three, which is about league average. That's fine, but he's shooting just 31 percent from three this season. He has experience as a point guard, but he's really not much of a facilitator - though his turnover numbers aren't bad - and may be too ball dominant to fit this roster. Nobody is going to mistake him for a defensive dynamo either. There is also concern that Rivers was basically given away by the Clippers, Wizards and now the Suns.
With all that said, the Sixers are desperate for legitimate NBA players to come off their bench. Rivers is far from a perfect player but he does satisfy some of their bench needs. He can score off the bounce a little and if he can shoot at the level he did the last two seasons in L.A., that would help. As mentioned, don't expect much from him defensively, but what do you expect from the current Sixers' reserves?
He'll cost next to nothing and as long as you go into it with extremely low expectations, maybe you can get something out of him with your empty roster spot. Rivers did help the Clippers in 2016-17 - his best season as mostly a reserve - win 51 games and the West's fourth seed. JJ Redick was on that team. Redick could provide intel and perhaps help the Sixers get the most out of Rivers.
Elton Brand may have something else already in the works. Then again, making a trade won't be easy. Most of the players that would appeal to the Sixers have big cap numbers and it would be difficult to match salaries. I don't believe Brand will punt on the 2018-19 season, but I do think it'll be much easier for him to improve this team's depth in the offseason.
While I still lean toward not adding Rivers, you can't blame Brand if he takes a flyer on the guy with the state of the current bench and with little trade options.
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