Austin Rivers had deals in the midlevel range, believes Rockets are the team to beat
Austin Rivers had a chance to get paid more by signing with another team. According to reports, he was being offered contracts worth around $5.7 million. However, he chose to take a pay cut and return to the Houston Rockets for the veteran’s minimum worth $2,320,044.
Why? Simply because he believes the Rockets are the team to beat.
Austin Rivers had offers in $5.7M midlevel range but took the vet minimum from Rockets. “Now that the league is wide open, I just saw an opportunity. You can’t really put a price on happiness. The goal was to come back to Houston all along. I think we have the team to beat.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 1, 2019
Over the past couple of years, the Rockets have been one of the Western Conference’s powerhouses. Unfortunately, they can’t seem to solve the problem that is the Golden State Warriors. Both teams have met in the playoffs in four of the last five years, and Houston lost all of them.
But with the Warriors losing Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala in the first day of free agency, and with Klay Thompson still nursing a torn ACL which will sideline him at least until February next year, Rivers may be right; the Rockets have a perfect opportunity to finally win a championship.
The problem is, most of the teams in the West have also used free agency to improve. The Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz have added pieces that make them both capable of challenging the Rockets. Not to mention the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers, who already has LeBron James and Anthony Davis, can potentially add Kawhi Leonard. So even with the Warriors being taken out of the equation, the Rockets have more problems to deal with next season.
But Austin Rivers is confident with what Houston has built, and with James Harden and Chris Paul still leading the way, they’re still one of the better teams in the league.
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