Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Frontrunners to sign Austin Rivers once waived

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Currently without a ball handler in the second unit, everyone expected the Milwaukee Bucks to fill one of their vacant roster spots with a backup point guard from the buyout market.

That certainly seems the case as The Athletic’s Shams Charania confirmed Sunday afternoon that the Bucks are the leading team to sign Austin Rivers once he clears waivers.

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The 28-year-old has seemingly been on Milwaukee’s radar from the moment they traded D.J. Augustin to the Houston Rockets as part of the P.J. Tucker trade earlier this month, and it appears they might finally bring him aboard.

After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on trade deadline day, many believed that Rivers would be bought out and hit the open market, which paves the way for the Bucks to add the veteran guard.

Charania notes that there is a strong mutual interest between both sides, meaning that a deal for the remainder of the season will likely get done once he clears waivers, which should come as early as Tuesday afternoon.

Austin Rivers is a logical move for the Milwaukee Bucks to shore up their depleted guard depth.

Behind starting point guard Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee’s guard depth is thinned out when it comes to those who can run the point. Bryn Forbes, Sam Merrill, and Pat Connaughton are better shooters than they are ball handlers, leaving something to be desired in the backcourt at times.

Although Rivers is more of a combo guard than the traditional point guard, he still fits the bill for what the Bucks are searching for. The Duke product would provide the Bucks with that secondary ball handler to give Holiday and Milwaukee’s other creators a break when necessary.

Rivers will not stuff the stat sheet every night, but he is undoubtedly capable of being a productive piece in the second unit. In 21 appearances with the New York Knicks this season, the guard averaged 7.3 points on .430/.364/.714 shooting splits, 2.2 rebounds, and two assists per game. Numbers like that could help boost the often inconsistent production in Milwaukee’s second unit without question.

The guard also has a handful of experience in the postseason by appearing in 45 games in five trips over his previous eight seasons. Previously serving as a key rotational piece on the L.A. Clippers and Houston Rockets, Rivers understands what it is like to be in that contending environment. As the Bucks gear up for another title run, adding a battle-tested veteran with that experience could be another solid piece to the puzzle.

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If Rivers is seeking a genuine opportunity to compete for a championship and play a meaningful role, Milwaukee is the place for him. With interest between both parties mutual, it would be justifiable to believe that a deal could come sooner rather than later.