Rockets’ Austin Rivers didn’t want Suns to waive him
Following three and a half seasons of a stable basketball life with the LA Clippers, hybrid guard Austin Rivers was traded to the Washington Wizards for Marcin Gortat, but then once again swapped, this time to the Phoenix Suns after 29 games with the Wizards and well before the trade deadline.
Rivers was hoping to have a purpose on his new team, but he was soon waived — by one of the worst teams in the league nonetheless — soon sitting in limbo and wondering where his career would take him next:
Rivers said he wanted to stay in Phoenix because of the perception that could result from being waived. He didn’t want to be a free agent during the season, a discarded former lottery pick looking for work.
“It looks bad because I’m sitting here thinking about my ego and my career,” said Rivers, admitting he didn’t want to be another discarded former lottery pick looking for work, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “This is my seventh year in the league. I need to be on a playoff team. I want to be on one of those teams. When [the trade] happened, I questioned what are we doing, and it was a lot mentally. Those four days I was waived, it was like two years. I’m watching people play basketball and I’m sitting here at home, like what the hell is going on?
“When Houston called, I was like, ‘I think this could be a great fit.’ I knew it was going to work, but I didn’t know it was going to be this [good].”
Rivers has indeed been a great fit with Houston, bouncing back from the 7.2 points on 39.2 percent shooting with the Wizards to a more efficient 42 percent from the field, a whisker shy of 10 points per game in 31.3 minutes off the bench for the playoff-bound Rockets.
Being waived by the Suns is now in the rearview mirror, a likely forgotten caveat of how he landed in his current basketball situation — one that brings him more promise when it comes to a role that is true to his basketball identity.
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