In the most memorable reported example of the Rockets’ problematic star-centered culture, James Harden snapped at Rivers for standing up near the bench and causing Harden to miss a free throw.
Rivers will leave that behind for an opportunity to get barked at by Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.
Clearing a logjam after agreeing to sign Nerlens Noel, New York is also trading Ed Davis to the Timberwolves for a second-round pick, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Update on Rivers’ contract: Three years, $10M, source tells ESPN. https://t.co/mfOQ2XIne7
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2020
Free agent C Nerlens Noel has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Knicks, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
Rivers join a crowd of guards that already included R.J. Barrett, Elfrid Payton (re-signing), Frank Ntilikina, Alec Burks (signing) and Dennis Smith Jr.
Thibodeau often lets his point guards cook. Does Rivers envision returning to that role? He struggled with it earlier in his career. He has been much better as a defensive-minded guard who picks his spots offensively. Rivers’ defense will at least endear him to Thibodeau.
The Knicks do well to get second-rounders for taking Davis then another second-rounder for dealing him. It was also important to get the veteran big off the roster, because he’s too dependable defensively. Thibodeau would have been too tempted to play him over Mitchell Robinson and Noel, who quietly took a leap with the Thunder.
New York isn’t going anywhere this season. Hence, using cap space to accumulate second-round picks and take fliers on Spellman (who holds some intrigue as a stretch big) and Evans. Though sometimes erratic, Robinson and Noel need playing time to develop further.
It’s surprising Rivers got a multi-year deal, limiting the Knicks flexibility. But that’s a fairly low price.
Davis will provide veteran leadership and steady defense behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Juancho Hernangomez in Minnesota.