The Celtics still have a 15th roster spot available with just under two weeks before training camp opens. With the opportunity to join a championship contender, one player has taken the initiative to reach out to them.
On an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, former Minnesota Timberwolf and current free agent Austin Rivers talked about his future in the NBA. After waxing poetic about joining the Heat and calling Miami “a dream destination” and his “#1 choice,” he added that he recently lobbed a call into the Celtics front office.
“I had a great talk with Brad (Stevens) actually like a week ago,” Rivers said. Simmons mentioned the need for a defensive guard with the departure of Marcus Smart to Memphis.
“That’s why I called him because I’d love to be a part of it. I’d love to be part of the team. He said a lot of positive things. We’ll see if that’s something that comes to fruition, but I’ve always loved Brad. I’ve always been a fan of him.”
Rivers was infamously a Celtic for less than a cup of coffee back in 2015. In a month that saw Danny Ainge swing six trades before the February deadline, one of the deals included aquiring Rivers from New Orleans and three days later, sending him to his dad, Doc Rivers, then head coach of the Clippers for a second round pick.
The veteran seems like an obvious fit in the rotation as a 9th or 10th man. Last month, CelticsBlog’s Mark Aboyoun wrote about potentially signing the 31-year-old after The Globe’s Gary Washburn reported that the Celtics was interested in bringing him to Boston:
The former Blue Devil is entering his 12th season in the league after being the 10th pick in the 2012 draft. Rivers, who was known for his offensive prowess in high school and college, is now more of an on-ball, defense-first player.
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.
In addition to that final roster spot, the Celtics have three non-guaranteed contracts to consider before Opening Night: Luke Kornet, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Dalano Banton. There’s some flexibility there and with a need for some experience off the bench (think Blake Griffin), he could become the second Rivers to raise a banner in Boston.