The Knicks have had a surprisingly quiet free agency, so far opting for smaller deals instead of the larger splashy ones they’re typically known for when they have money to spend. On Sunday, they continued their conservative approach to free agency with a reported signing of Austin Rivers.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks and Rivers reached an agreement to bring Rivers to New York. Rivers, who most recently played for the Rockets, will help shore up the Knicks guard rotation with another playmaker, because currently, their roster is lacking in that department.
The deal was initially reported as a one-year deal, but Woj later updated his reporting to note it’s a 3-year, $10 million deal.
Update on Rivers' contract: Three years, $10M, source tells ESPN. https://t.co/mfOQ2XIne7
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2020
This will be the fifth team Rivers has played for. While he does have point guard experience, his primary role in previous stops has been as a secondary ball handler on the floor next to the primary. There’s no reason to think he won’t keep this role in New York with the Knicks lacking many secondary creators. The few ball handlers they do have are all primary creators or scorers and Rivers can be a hybrid between creating for others while also looking to score himself.
Considering this is a one year deal, and Rivers fills a position of need, this is a good signing for New York. They get to buy low on a player that, while not spectacular, is more than serviceable. If he turns out to be better than expected then they can flip him at the trade deadline for assets or keep him around and let him help with the development of their young guys. These are the kind of low risk moves the Knicks have sorely need the last few times they’ve entered free agency with cap space, and as they let the big free agents this offseason come and go, keeping future flexibility is clearly still the focus in New York.