Doc on Austin: 'I really want him back'

Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- If Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers had to do it all over again, not only would he have traded for his son, Austin Rivers, but he would have done it before the season like Dave Wohl, his old friend and general manager, told him to do.

Instead, he ignored Wohl this summer and signed Jordan Farmar with the team’s biannual exception for two years at $4.2 million. It was a bad fit from the start and led to the Clippers waiving Farmar after 36 games. By then, Wohl had convinced Rivers. The Clippers were able to add Austin Rivers midway through the season in a three-way trade that saw them parting ways with Reggie Bullock, Chris Douglas-Roberts and a 2017 second-round pick.

Rivers averaged 8.4 points and 1.1 assists in 17.9 minutes per game during the postseason and played a key role in three playoff wins. He scored 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting in Game 4 of the first round against the San Antonio Spurs, started Game 1 of the second round against the Houston Rockets and scored 17 points, and had 25 points in Game 3 of that series.

“I think [the trade] played out great for us,” Doc Rivers said on Monday. “It’s funny, the only criticism I heard is that we gave up too much. I’m not sure what we gave up that hurt us. A second-round pick at the end of the day for a player that is a rotational player and 22 years old. I don’t even think there’s a question there.

"It was a gamble for me personally. It was just a tough one for me. I was on the other side of not wanting to do it and I’m glad I listened to people for a change. I wasn’t so stubborn. I give Dave Wohl credit. Before the season started and we signed Jordan [Farmar] or anyone he wanted that to happen and I didn’t hear any of that. In retrospect it would have been nice to have him the whole year. It would have been better. That was a mistake. I probably should have.”

Rivers, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft, turns 23 in August and said Sunday he wants to return to the Clippers.

“People who want to criticize him don't [realize he’s 22],” Rivers said. “That's the way I always look at them. He's young and he clearly helped us. I think we all have to agree with that. And I think he loved it here. I even think he liked the coach at times. You know, it'll be interesting. I really want him back and I think it would be great to have him back and I think he's a great fit for this team. But business is business and it'll be an interesting thing this summer.”

So will it be hard for Rivers, the Clippers coach who also serves the team’s president of basketball operations, to convince his son to re-sign with the Clippers?

“No. It will be easy,” Rivers said. “His will be the easiest. I’ll call his mom.”