Former Lottery Pick, 11-Year Veteran Floated as Celtics Free Agent Target

Joe Mazzulla

Getty Joe Mazzulla

The Boston Celtics have limited options left for what they do with their last two roster spots. One possibility is helping their guard depth, and if that’s the route they choose, CelticsBlog’s Mark Aboyoun explained why Austin Rivers could be worth a look.

Aboyoun explained that though Rivers is known for his scoring abilities, his defense may make him appealing to the Celtics.

“Rivers, who was known for his offensive prowess in high school and college, is now more of an on-ball, defense-first player,” Aboyoun wrote. “In 52 games with the Timberwolves last season, Rivers had a defensive rating of 117.4. With the loss of Smart, Mazzulla may think of bringing in a veteran who can help bolster the backcourt and bridge the defensive gap left by Smart… If the Celtics want a defensive guard, one of the better defensive guards left on the market is Rivers.”

Rivers is coming off a season in which he averaged 4.9 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while shooting 43.5% from the field and 35% from three with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rivers has not lived up to the billing as the No. 10 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, but he has managed to carve out a role in the NBA.

Celtics Expressed Interest in Austin Rivers: Report

On July 15, The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reported the Celtics’ interest in Rivers when he wrote that a “free agent looking for work is veteran guard Austin Rivers, whom the Celtics have shown interest.

Washburn added what Rivers was hoping to find on the open market, noting that he “is looking for more than a mentor role.”

Because of Rivers does not have many suitors lineup at the moment, Washburn added that “Rivers is likely one of those players who will be squeezed out of the free-agent market and seeking an NBA minimum contract.”

Since then, Rivers has remained on the free agent market. After the Celtics traded Marcus Smart, their guard rotation will boil down to Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Payton Pritchard. Adding Rivers could give them some needed cushion should any of those three miss any extended time during the 2023-24 season.

Celtics Interested in Blake Griffin Reunion: Report

Marc Stein reported on August 7 that the Celtics would like to bring Blake Griffin back, but it’s unknown if the feeling is mutual between the two sides.

“The Celtics, league sources say, have interest in re-signing Blake Griffin,” Stein wrote. “Less clear is Griffin’s stance, at 34, on returning to Boston for a 15th NBA season. Griffin signed with the Celtics in early October after training camp had already begun and appeared in just one playoff game after playing in 41 regular-season games.”

CLNS Media’s Bobby Manning reported the same thing about Griffin on August 3, writing that it remained a possibility and that he may give it more time before he makes a decision.

“I’ve heard the door remains open for his return despite the distance from family and his home on the West Coast,” Manning wrote. “Given that he mulled his options until October last year, it’s worth assuming he’ll follow a similarly deliberative process this summer.”

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