After the failed three way trade between the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards, now known as Brooks-gate, fell apart, it was clear the front office is just as frustrated with MarShon Brooks and Wayne Selden Jr. as the bloggers are.
The radio stations got their fill of it on Monday and things began to die down from the fallout. The Wizards and Suns worked out their own deal swapping Trevor Ariza for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers.
Then Woj dropped this bomb last night:
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
Grizzlies Twitter then began to make suggestions or even jokes about the Grizzlies signing Austin Rivers if he cleared waivers.
So while I ate my Chick Fil A for lunch and chatted in the infamous group text about superhero movies, Shams hits us with this:
*Searches for the “It’s happening” gif from The Office*
So the Grizzlies get to keep their two second round picks and still pick up a decent wing player to come off the bench? Sign me up.
A wing rotation of Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, and Austin Rivers sounds solid.
Let the stats tell the story
It is easy at first reaction to be excited the Grizzlies front office made a move, in season with a name people know. But who is Austin Rivers the basketball player, not the son of a coach or overly arrogant Duke star?
For his career Austin Rivers is a -2.7 in overall +/-. He has never had a season in his career as a positive contributor according to the +/- stat. If the goal is to upgrade from Wayne Selden Jr. and MarShon Brooks, he is technically better this season than both of them but not by much.
I would argue, however, to overlook his current season stats and +/- value due to the horrendously toxic locker room he was a part of. The Wizards have been in shambles much of the season and I would not expect a new role player to thrive in a new environment such as the one in D.C.
The best two seasons of his career were his final two seasons in Los Angeles in which he finished those two seasons at -1.6 and -.9, both on the upswing and best marks of his career. He was maturing and learning to play within a role.
Last season Rivers averaged 15 points, 4 assists, and 1.2 steals on 42% shooting and 38% from three. Neither Wayne Selden nor MarShon Brooks have ever done this in their career and probably never will.
The reality is this: The Grizzlies will have to cut Selden or Brooks, (MarShon for you Phoenix people out there). Rivers is only here in hopes to provide the depth those two have failed to provide. He is not here to be the piece that carries this team into the playoffs. He is not here to replace a struggling Shelvin Mack.
Getting him on a veteran’s minimum is absolutely worth the risk. Bringing him into this locker room may be the thing he needs in his career to take another step. Rivers plays hard and can shoot the ball, something this team needs. He could be a wonderfully helpful piece for this team or he may just be bad. Regardless of the outcome, he is worth it considering what is lost to bring him in.
Four to five other teams are still expressing interest in Rivers, sources said. No formal offer yet from Memphis, with several days until Rivers clears waivers. https://t.co/RUkLDrVqJF— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 18, 2018
Not a done deal just yet.