With Victor Oladipo questionable to return after reinjuring his right knee, the Miami Heat went from possibly not needing to fill their last open roster spot to needing extra insurance on the bench. While the free-agent market is slim pickings, Austin Rivers stands out as the one of the best available option out there.
After Rivers was waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 28, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted that the Milwaukee Bucks were frontrunners to sign the 28-year-old point guard once he cleared waivers. Charania said there was “strong mutual interest between the sides.”
The Heat wouldn’t be a part of the conversation concerning Rivers’ possible landing spots if Oladipo was healthy, but each day that passes without an injury update on the two-time All-Star, the likelihood Miami fills their 15th roster spot with a replacement deepens.
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Despite Charania’s report, there hasn’t been any movement between Rivers and the Bucks, who subsequently signed another guard, Jeff Teague. Meanwhile, other teams such as the Nuggets have shown interest in Rivers according to The Denver Post‘s Mike Singer. Rivers, who played 21 games with the New York Knicks, was averaging 7.3 points and 2.2 rebounds before being traded and waived by the Thunder.
The former 10th overall draft pick has previously played for the New Orleans Pelicans, the Los Angeles Clippers under then-general manager and real-life father Doc Rivers, the Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets. While the Heat are flush with guards, adding a strong supplemental player who can score off the bench could give Miami extra insurance.
The Heat could also test-drive Rivers while Oladipo remains questionable. Miami can sign him to a 10-day contract while they figure out a more concrete game plan for the postseason.
The Heat Could Sign Another Player Who Hasn’t Played Yet This Season
There are only three requirements needed in order for the Heat to add another player: he either was waived by April 9, hasn’t played at all this season (like Dewayne Dedmon, who was signed to a veteran’s minimum contract), or signed a 10-day contract before the deadline.
South Florida Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman created a list of players that have yet to play an official NBA game this season:
Jeremy Lin, Thon Maker, Ian Mahinmi, Greg Monroe, Skal Labissiere, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Knight, Frank Mason, Cam Reynolds, Amir Johnson, Glenn Robinson III, JR Smith, Lance Stephenson, Jodie Meeks, Joe Johnson, Troy Daniels, Allonzo Trier, Courtney Lee, Wilson Chandler, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Allen Crabbe, Gerald Green, Kyle Korver, Jordan Crawford, Shabazz Napier and, yes, Dion Waiters, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers.
Recently released active players that available to join the Heat include the following players: Isaiah Thomas, Jabari Parker, Justin Patton, Austin Rivers, Patrick McCaw, Greg Whittington, Gary Clark, Jaylen Adams, Darius Miller, Ignas Brazdeikis, Jerome Robinson, Justin Jackson, Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, Marquese Chriss, and Jalen Lecque.