Tim Connelly signs Austin Rivers for the second year in a row, adding bench depth
The Minnesota Timberwolves are beginning to fill out their bench, and the signing of Austin Rivers is a nice way to do so. He is not a star or anything like that, but you could certainly do much, much worse than Rivers for your 11th or 12th roster spot.
Free agent guard Austin Rivers has agreed on a one-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, his agents Dave Spahn and Aaron Mintz of CAA Sports tell ESPN. Rivers played 67 games for Denver a year ago, where new president Tim Connelly signed him in consecutive seasons.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 15, 2022
Last season, Rivers averaged 6 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 22 minutes per game with Denver. He’s a career 34.9% three-point shooter who can handle the ball on offense in case of emergency, and is a tough perimeter defender. When filling out your bench with minimum contract guys, you could do a whole lot worse than a guy who can capably fill in at either guard position with solid offense and passable catch-and-shoot ability.
Source: The Austin Rivers contract with the Timberwolves is for the minimum
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) July 15, 2022
Rivers also brings plenty of playoff experience, which should be a plus for the locker room. Aside from that, I mostly feel that anyone who has a strong take on this signing in either direction is trying to hard. It’s a fine deal, especially at the minimum. One thing in general that I do like about Rivers is that he’s fearless. He’s not Pat Bev by any means, but he brings toughness, confidence, and just a little bit of nasty with him.
With the Rivers signing complete, I would like to see the Wolves use their remaining roster spots on developmental projects. They have 12 players under contract now who could play if needed (13 if you include Wendell Moore in that group), which gives them the flexibility to use those final roster spots a in a different way. I would hope to see Nate Knight stick around, and maybe they’re now more willing to let Josh Minott spend most of his rookie season with the Timberwolves.
In essence, the Rivers signing is a fine one for depth purposes this year, and now the team should be able to use their final roster spot(s) on developmental pieces.