NBA Rumors: Austin Rivers, Suns Agree to Part Ways After Trevor Ariza Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 30: Austin Rivers #1 of the Washington Wizards looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 30, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to release Austin Rivers, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday.

According to Wojnarowski, the Suns and Rivers "concluded [he] fits better on an older team that's pursuing playoffs."

The move comes on the same day Phoenix confirmed it acquired Rivers and Kelly Oubre Jr. from the Washington Wizards for Trevor Ariza.

Cutting ties with Rivers already is a bit puzzling for Phoenix. Backcourt depth has been a problem for the Suns all season, and they need all the playmakers they can get in order to help feed Deandre Ayton inside.

Although Rivers doesn't fit with the franchise's general timeline toward contention, he was on an expiring deal and provided a steady baseline for his expectations. He's averaging 9.3 points and 2.4 assists over his career.

The 26-year-old could've been a stopgap option as a combo guard until the Suns could address the problem with a more permanent solution in the offseason.

As Bourbon Street Shots' Mason Ginsberg argued, Phoenix at least might have been able to keep Rivers long enough to build up some trade value:

It makes you wonder why the Suns wanted Rivers in the first place.

The front office clearly holds rookie guard De'Anthony Melton in high regard. Prior to Monday's 128-110 win over the New York Knicks, Melton was averaging 7.1 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Without Rivers in the fold, Melton can continue playing alongside Devin Booker.

Rivers, meanwhile, will be free to pick his next destination when he clears waivers. That's an obvious upgrade over suiting up for the Suns, who own the NBA's second-worst record (7-24).

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