Even though Austin Rivers was seen by some as the main piece in the Trevor Ariza trade that was made official on Monday, helping add depth to the Suns’ backcourt rotation, he was released the same day he was acquired, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
After trade with Wizards, Suns agree to part ways with G Austin Rivers, per ESPN sources. Rivers – earning $12.6M in final year of deal – becomes a free agent upon clearing waivers. As a veteran, sides concluded Rivers fits better on an older team that's pursuing playoffs.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 18, 2018
Now, only Kelly Oubre Jr. will be joining the team when they face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
Rivers being released makes sense with De’Anthony Melton still needing minutes to develop, but him seemingly refusing to join a rebuilding team was surprising. Doc Rivers’ son will now be free to join whatever team he wants once he clears waivers, presumably a championship-contending team in need of combo guards (Houston, Indiana, and Philadelphia all make sense off the top of my head).
The Suns now have an open roster spot again, but there’s no indication they are in a rush to fill it now. They could take their time all the way up until February’s trade deadline or even further.
Currently, here’s how their rotation looks after jettisoning Rivers:
PG: Melton, Jamal Crawford
SG: Devin Booker, Troy Daniels
SF: Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson
PF: T.J. Warren, Oubre Jr.
C: Deandre Ayton, Richaun Holmes
Stay tuned to Bright Side of the Sun as we bring you further updates on this developing situation. What’s your thoughts on this move by Phoenix?