Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
When guard Austin Rivers first came to the Clippers this past season to play for his father, coach Doc Rivers, there was no shortage of reporters who wondered how it was going to work out. After all, it was the first time in NBA history a player was to toil for his head-coach pops.
By recently signing a two-year contract to remain with the Clippers for about $6.4 million, the younger Rivers put to rest any notion that a situation like this couldn’t work. Austin Rivers on Tuesday talked about what it was like when he first arrived in mid-January after being traded to the Clippers
“It was definitely challenging at first, just because I knew what I’d have to deal with just coming here and what it would look like for me, and also just the questions of how could a father-and-son relationship work on a professional level,” he said. “And I took that chance. It was a chance that I needed to take for myself because I honestly believed that if I came here, not only would I start to play the way I knew I could play, but also helps this team in an area where they needed help.”
The Clippers didn’t have much flexibility to sign players to long-term deals, but for now, the two-year accord Rivers signed just over a week ago was fine.
“Right now I signed a two-year deal because I want to come here and help this team win,” he said at a news conference Tuesday at Staples Center; joining Rivers were his father and teammates DeAndre Jordan, Paul Pierce, Cole Aldrich, Wesley Johnson, Josh Smith and Branden Dawson. “And that’s my focus right now. And I believe we can do so, so it really made my decision very, very easy to come back and really maybe not even try to venture out and see what else is out there because I wanted to be here.”
Rivers averaged 7.1 points and 1.7 assists in 41 regular-season games with the Clippers this past season. He averaged 8.4 points in the playoffs and had a couple of very big games.
Rivers won’t be 23 until Aug. 1.