Austin Rivers: Talks with Clips, father Doc 'a stressful process'

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Monday, July 4, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Los Angeles Clippers point guard Austin Riverssaid the recruiting process he went through with his dad, Doc, before he agreed to re-sign with the Clippers for $35 million over three seasons, was "weird."

That's because Doc isn't a regular dad. The elder Rivers is the Clippers' head coach and president of basketball operations.

"To be honest, it was weird," Austin said after the Clippers' summer league game at Amway Center. "Just because it was so business. People don't understand from the outside looking in that's kind of how our relationship is. But it's different when it's something like this because now money's involved. Coaching is simple. He's always been a coach to me. He's always been like a coach. He's never really been -- he's always been a father when he had time to be, I'm not trying to say he's not a father, but [our] relationship has always been coach/player. And it's worked out."

The scrutiny on father and son has been evident since Doc acquired Austin in a January 2015 three-team deal that included the Boston Celtics andPhoenix Suns. The dealmade Austin the first NBA player to play in a game for his father, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Austin was open about the fact that had free agent Kevin Durantindicated he would sign with the Clippers, he and teammate Jamal Crawford would have had to sign elsewhere.

"So in this process, it was now president vs. player, so it was different," Austin said. "And he told me and I told him, it's a business, man. The fact is if Durant would have signed there, then me and Jamal would have been somewhere else. It's just strictly a business [move]. At the end of the day, you're trying to win. So we understood that. It came down to I wasn't going to wait that much longer. Jamal's sitting here trying to figure something out. It's a stressful process ... I wanted to be back here, and that's why I decided to come back."

Austin said he met with the New York Knicks and had conversations lined up with the Portland Trail Blazers andHouston Rockets, as well as two other teams. Austin averaged 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season.

"It came down, for me, just to what did I value?" Austin said. "The money was pretty much equal almost across the board from most of the teams. It was just what did I want to be a part of for the short-term. Also, I wanted the two-plus-one [contract]. I wanted to have the option to opt out."

The difference in Rivers' mind was that he was already comfortable within the framework of the Clippers' system, and he is confident that if the Clippers stay healthy, they can contend in the Western Conference.

"I don't have to reintroduce myself to people, get to know [a new] coaching style and what system do you [run]," Austin said. "I know the system. I know the situation. I think me and Jamal progressively got better with each other. I think next year we could be a big, big difference. Because I'm going to be a lot better, a lot more assertive."