Fans have been clamoring for the Rockets to make a move to bolster their depth and they finally did just that.
The Rockets agreed to sign guard Austin Rivers to a one-year guaranteed deal on Sunday. Rivers recently became a free agent after being bought out by the Phoenix Suns.
With Chris Paul expected to be out 2-4 weeks, the need to make a move became more pressing. Brandon Knight does not look ready at all and his contract is actively being shopped by the Rockets (if they can find any takers). The minutes are piling up on the starters. It’s also clear that the Rockets are going to have to rest Chris Paul more this season, taking a Spurs-like approach if they want to avoid these injuries.
But Rivers, a guy who has been hated in Houston and has some bad blood with the Rockets? No question, it’s awkward. Let’s just say that both parties need each other right now. Rivers needs to find a contender where he can play a role and the Rockets desperately need backup point guard help. Without a doubt, the Rockets had to have cleared this move with Paul first to get his blessing.
So how much of a help is he? He’s definitely not the elite player many thought he would be coming out of high school and Duke, but he’s serviceable. He’s having a rough season shooting the ball, knocking down just 31.1% from three, but he’s capable of better. He shot 37.8% and 37.1% from three on fairly high volume his previous two seasons with the Clippers. He also has eliminated the mid-range shot from his game, focusing on layups and three-pointers.
Sound familiar? It should. So while the Rockets haven’t exactly added a game-changer today, there’s reason to think Rivers might fit in nicely playing off James Harden and (eventually) Paul while giving either a breather in spot minutes.