Doc Rivers is both the coach and president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Clippers.
It’s a highly unique role — he both coaches the team and picks the players — and he has been criticised at times for his personnel decisions over the course of the season.
On Thursday he made his most controversial move yet, trading for his son Austin in a move that involved getting rid of three players.
Austin, still only 22, is a third-year point guard who has been a disappointment since getting drafted 10th-overall in 2012. He has never averaged more than seven points per game as a bench player in New Orleans.
In the trade, the Clippers had to give up Reggie Bullock and Chris Douglas-Roberts for salary cap reasons. Both guys struggled to get extended minutes under Doc, who famously prefers to play veterans. The team also waived point guard Jordan Farmer, who’s job Austin will ostensibly take.
Farmer and Rivers are similar players. Here are their numbers per 36 minutes:
- Farmar: 11.4 points, 10.8 shots, 38.6% shooting, 36.1% 3-point shooting, 0.049 win shares per 48 minutes
- Rivers: 11.1 points, 10.4 shots, 38.7% shooting, 28% 3-point shooting, 0.039 win shares per 48 minutes
Farmar is a better 3-point shooter. Rivers is better at getting to free throw line.
While Austin is the younger player who theoretically has more potential, throwing away three players for a guy who isn’t provably better than what you already have is an odd move.
The reaction has been pretty unanimous:
Nepotism aside — the Clippers desperately need a small forward and draft picks to trade, and they just dealt both for a combo guard.
— D.J. Foster (@fosterdj) January 15, 2015
Doc Rivers acquiring his son while sending a free asset to a former Celtics executive is a dizzying amount of sketchiness for one trade
— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) January 15, 2015
I don’t really understand what the Clippers are doing. That is a lot of noise to get Austin Rivers.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 15, 2015
Sources: Clippers sign Austin Rivers to a 5-year, $US120 million extension.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 16, 2015
Doc as a GM has been a train wreck so far. Bad mid-season moves to make up for bad off-season moves the past two seasons.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 15, 2015
The fact that Austin is his son is just a tangential issue here. The real problem is that he sacrificed potentially helpful role players in a move that won’t address the team’s key weaknesses (wing defence) and won’t improve what they already have.
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