Austin Rivers to become unrestricted free agent in 2015


In not-so-shocking news, the New Orleans Pelicans have picked up the fourth year option for budding superstar Anthony Davis.

In other not-so-shocking news, the Pelicans have decline to exercise the fourth year option for 2012 first-round pick Austin Rivers and by doing so, Rivers could become an unrestricted free agent this summer if the two parties can’t agree on an extension from now until free agency hits.

From the Times-Picayune:

"If Rivers’ option is not extended, he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. A source said they decided to hold off exercising Rivers’ option because of salary cap concerns, especially if Eric Gordon decides to opt in to his contract next season that will pay him $15.5 million. The Pelicans also are expected to make a push this summer to re-sign center Omer Asik, whom they acquired in a trade last summer from the Houston Rockets."

Why is Rivers’ option being declined by the Pelicans newsworthy on a Clippers blog? Outside of the fact that Austin Rivers is the son of Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, the Clippers could target Rivers in free agency.

Despite Jordan Farmar, the Clippers current reserve guard behind Chris Paul, being the superior player between he and Rivers, like former Clippers guard Darren Collison, Farmar and the Clippers agreed to a two-year deal which is beneficial for both parties: the Clippers were able to nab Farmar for a below-market price while a player option gives Farmar the opportunity to seek a high pay raise if he outplays expectations.

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Son of former Boston Celtics championship HC 'one of the better' free agents
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  • And if the pursuit of Farmar, his price tag, and the franchises unwillingness to pay now-Sacramento Kings point guard Darren Collison whatever he demanded prior to signing his off-season deal have showed us anything, it’s that the Clippers aren’t looking into the business of paying a high price for Chris Paul‘s reserve, a decision fair in it’s own right.

    While assuming the Clippers would target Austin Rivers in 2015 is pure speculation, Chad Ford of ESPN reporting the was interested in the combo guard in February makes the assumption worthwhile.

    Like Collison and Farmar, Rivers’ strengths, albeit average ones, come on the offensive side of the ball. Last season, Rivers averaged a career-high 7.7 points on 40 percent shooting from the field (36 percent from three). There are issues everywhere else when breaking down Rivers’ game, but in comparison to his abysmal rookie season, Rivers showed he’s capable of being a NBA rotation player. The most notable numbers when scanning Rivers’ statistics? During his sophomore season, Rivers increased his Assist Percentage (13.9 to 18.7) and decreased his Turnover Percentage (14.5 to 12.3) despite increasing his Usage Percentage (16.8 to 21.3).

    Of course, the summer of 2015 is a long ways from here — we’ve still an entire 82-game season to get through plus the playoffs, but I figured this was an interesting tidbit to address.

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