NBA Rumors: Analyzing Buzz Surrounding Austin Rivers, Lakers and Knicks

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 29, 2021

NBA Rumors: Analyzing Buzz Surrounding Austin Rivers, Lakers and Knicks

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    It was an eventful past week around the NBA. As the trade deadline approached, rumors were flying about potential deals. Some of them came to fruition before the deadline arrived Thursday, while others didn't materialize.

    Since the deadline, there have been more moves that have affected the landscape of the league. That's because there's been fallout from those trades, as well as players who were bought out and became free to sign with other teams.

    Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NBA as teams get their rosters in order for the final stretch of the regular season.

Bucks Nearing Deal with Rivers?

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    On Thursday, a three-team trade led to Austin Rivers moving from the New York Knicks to the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the 28-year-old point guard is about to be on the move again, as the Thunder announced Sunday that they were waiving him before he ever put on their uniform.

    It appears it won't take long for Rivers to find a new team, though. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Milwaukee Bucks are the "leaders" to sign Rivers once he clears waivers, noting that there's "strong mutual interest between the sides."

    Rivers, the son of Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, is in his ninth season in the NBA, and during that span, he's played for five teams. After spending the previous two seasons with the Houston Rockets, a sign-and-trade deal sent him to the Knicks in November.

    During his brief time in New York, Rivers averaged 7.3 points in 21 games, missing some time because of an ankle issue. He will remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture if he signs with the Bucks, who are 29-16 and in third in the conference. Rivers could provide them with some solid play coming off the bench.

How Will Lakers Fill Final Roster Spot?

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers weren't active at the trade deadline. However, they still found a way to add to their roster.

    Andre Drummond confirmed reports that he was signing with the Lakers on Instagram on Sunday, giving the team a boost as they look to repeat as NBA champions. The Cleveland Cavaliers ended up not trading the 27-year-old at the deadline and then buying out his contract shortly after it passed, making him a free agent.

    The champions still have one open roster spot, though, so there could be another signing on the way to L.A. According to The Athletic's Jovan Buha and Jared Weiss, the Lakers are "expected to pursue a 3-and-D wing" to take that final spot.

    It's not yet clear whom Los Angeles could sign, but there are still players in the buyout market who could become available (if they are not already). The Lakers are looking to finish the regular season strong and build some momentum ahead of the playoffs, as they are 30-17 and in fourth in the Western Conference.

Knicks Cutting Ties with Pair of Players

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    As part of the three-team deal that sent Rivers to the Thunder, the Knicks received several players from the Philadelphia 76ers. Among the players in that package were shooting guard Terrance Ferguson and center Vincent Poirier, both of whom played small bench roles for Philadelphia.

    But it appears that neither Ferguson nor Poirier will suit up for New York. Charania reportedΒ Sunday that the Knicks are waiving both players, which will send them both to free agency.

    Ferguson is a former first-round draft pick, as Oklahoma City took him with the No. 21 overall selection in 2017. After spending his first three seasons with the Thunder, he was traded to the 76ers in December. The 22-year-old was averaging only 3.8 minutes in 13 games with Philadelphia.

    Poirier is only in his second NBA season, but he's moved around a bit. After signing with the Boston Celtics in July 2019, he was traded to the Thunder in November. Less than a month later, he was dealt to the 76ers. And ahead of the deadline, he was traded to the Knicks. The 27-year-old averaged 3.9 minutes in 10 games for Philadelphia this season.