Amid various rumors and trade ideas suggesting that the Philadelphia 76ers might have to move one of their star players prior to the 2020-21 season, a new report suggested that the team might benefit from using its mini mid-level exception in free agency to sign Houston Rockets backup guard Austin Rivers.
As explained on Tuesday by Bleacher Report‘s Dan Favale, the Sixers are likely to remain an enigmatic unit in the lead-up to the offseason, especially since they just lost one of their two young superstars, Ben Simmons, to a season-ending knee injury. He added that there’s a chance the team might not make too many moves after the 2019-20 season as it’s “not set up to do much more” and trading Simmons or Joel Embiid by then should be their very last resort.
Although he acknowledged that the Sixers could check the trade market if anyone’s interested in acquiring forward Tobias Harris or center Al Horford and brought up the possibility of trading for Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield, Favale noted that the team’s “best offseason tool” will be the mini mid-level exception, which is worth $6 million. He pointed out that this should be enough to sign Rivers, assuming he opts out of the final year of his contract with the Rockets.
Talking about how Rivers could help his new teammates if he moves to Philadelphia, Favale stressed that the 28-year-old converted on 36.6 percent of his spot-up three-point attempts and 36.3 percent of his pull-ups from beyond the arc. While the former first-round pick isn’t known for scoring close to the bucket or getting to the free-throw line, Rivers was described as a player who could “jump-start” things offensively for teams that rely greatly on their bench, as well as a decent defender against other guards.
According to his Basketball-Reference player page, Rivers averaged 8.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for Houston and shot 42.1 percent from the field in the 2019-20 campaign, which was his eighth in the NBA after getting selected 10th overall in the 2012 draft. A journeyman of sorts, he also saw action for three other teams — the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Washington Wizards — before joining the Rockets midway through the 2018-19 season.
Prior to the suggestion that the Sixers sign Rivers in free agency, another role player was recently mentioned as a potential offseason target, as reported by The Inquisitr. Last week, NBA insider Tom Haberstroh recommended a sign-and-trade deal that would allow Philadelphia to acquire Brooklyn Nets wingman Joe Harris for Tobias Harris and backup guard Matisse Thybulle.