Doc Rivers is the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, and one of his first moves was reportedly telling the team to stay away from his son.
The veteran head coach told the New York Post that the Sixers had Austin Rivers high on their list of free agent targets before he stepped in:
“He was high on Philly’s list before I took the job,’’ Doc Rivers told The Post. “It was one of the guards they wanted. When I took the job, I said, ‘You don’t want that. You got too many other things we have to deal with.’
“For Austin it’s better. He’s his own player. Unfortunately for him, me being the dad, he’s just an easy guy to target. I have felt since the separation, it’s been really good for him.’’
Rivers similarly told his son that he could do better with the New York Knicks, with whom he ended up signing to fill his usual role as a bench scorer:
“I kept telling him, ‘New York is a great place,’ ’’ Doc Rivers said. “I had a great experience there. That’s what I shared with him. It’s a tough city — in a positive way. He said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ I said, ‘It’s similar to Boston and Philly. Their fans are real. They want you to play hard, give you everything you can and play like a team.’
The elder Rivers’ decision prevented a reunion in Philadelphia after four seasons together on the Los Angeles Clippers, who fired the coach in September after a disappointing season.
While on the Clippers, Austin Rivers averaged 11.1 points per game, his most of any of the four teams he’s played for. His time with his father eventually ended with a trade that sent him to the Washington Wizards in 2018.
Funnily enough, the Sixers actually did end up adding a family member of Rivers’ by trading for his son-in-law rather than signing his son. As part of the team’s investment in much-needed 3-point shooting, the Sixers acquired sharpshooter Seth Curry, who is married to Doc’s daughter Callie, via trade with the Dallas Mavericks.
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