New York Knicks: 5 Under-the-Radar Free Agents to target this summer

Cameron Payne, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cameron Payne, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks
Austin Rivers, New York Knicks. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks: 5 under-the-radar free agents – Austin Rivers

This one probably isn’t going to happen, which is a shame. We all remember Rivers’ brief stint with the Knicks back at the start of the 2021 season — particularly his two scoring explosions against the Jazz. He took on a leadership role and was vocal in articulating the team’s dramatic improvements and culture shift. Fans were disappointed when he was benched and DNP’d by Thibs before being shipped to Denver in March, and Rivers himself expressed dissatisfaction with how his departure went down.

Rivers went on to enjoy a more consistent role with the Nuggets, averaging 31 minutes per night during their 10 game playoff run and providing consistent energy and toughness that the rest of his team sometimes lacked.

Rivers is who he is at this point, and that’s fine. He’ll play his ass off, knock down some 3s, and make some assists and steals. The Knicks really missed his intensity during the Hawks series. The stories of his confidence and cockiness are legendary and Rivers would have been a useful counterweight in that sense to Trae Young.

The bad blood from his departure in March makes it unlikely that he’ll return. The Knicks should definitely welcome him back if he changes his mind. His reputation is such that he should never struggle to find a team, and no matter what happens, Rivers will be a quality coach or broadcaster when he retires. Like his father, he is thoughtful, passionate, and willing to put in the work.