Austin Rivers not worried about making history with Doc, Clippers

Doc Rivers called his son, Austin, and told him he and the Clippers were thinking about trading for him last week.

Austin said he needed some time to think, then he reached out to an important person in both of their lives.

"The first thing I did was call my mom," Austin Rivers said in a packed press conference. "She’s the one who’s got to deal with this. She was a wreck the first night. She was calling me, ‘what if this happens?’ I said, ‘mom, it’s not on anybody but me and him.’ "

That’s where the spotlight is shining brightly.

What a unique and uncanny situation that led to Austin Rivers suiting up for his father on Friday. After a three-team trade that became official one day earlier, Austin Rivers wore No. 25 for the Clippers and played for his dad, Doc Rivers.

Austin wore the same number when he played for the Pelicans, who opted to not pick up the option on his contract for next season. Doc Rivers wore No. 25 in his playing career.

With 2:24 left in the first quarter, Austin Rivers entered the game against Cleveland to become the first son to play for his coach father in NBA history.

Not long after, Austin Rivers heaved a pass ahead to an open Blake Griffin, who threw down a fastbreak dunk. Austin Rivers with his first assists as a Clipper, for his dad and history.

Austin Rivers said that’s not something he’s worried about. But it will surely be something to look back on and be admired one day.

"Maybe later. Right now, I’m focused on basketball," Rivers said. "I know people might not believe that but I am. I know people might not believe that. People can say whatever they want – good, negative, bad. At the end of the day, all that other stuff really has nothing to do with me. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and a lot of negative feedback. I’ve been getting that same feedback since I wasn’t here. My focus is just to play, man. Like I said, this is an opportunity for me to help the team. It’s an opportunity for me to get better and learn from these guys and compete. That’s all I want."

A fair shake to play minutes as a reserve 6-foot-4 guard for the Clippers, who recently dealt Jared Cunningham, Reggie Bullock and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

Both father and son focused on this as a good basketball move.

"I want to win and I want to make my team better," Doc Rivers said. "He fits our team."

There were two press conferences for people with the last name of Rivers.

And Rivers seemed to fit in just fine. He sat between Jamal Crawford and Spencer Hawes to start the game, and Crawford would tap him and point out things the Clippers were doing. Before long, Austin Rivers was out there, too.

In a cool quirk in the schedule, former Cleveland Cavalier Austin Carr, who also is the Cavaliers television analyst, was here Friday with LeBron James and Co. in town. Doc Rivers named his son after Austin Carr.

"Congratulations, you’re bringing him home," Carr told Rivers as they hugged.

The move might be easy for some with the exception of Kris Rivers. Doc would joke that she would cheer for her son instead of him when they were on opposing sides. Kris Rivers was expected to attend the game along with Austin Rivers’ girlfriend. Austin said they were both nervous about the attention and cameras.

"I told them this is going to be a big deal for like 2-3 days and the NBA moves on and a new story pops up," Austin Rivers said. "Or someone will have a great game or bad game or whatever. This will be forgotten about. When things initially happen, it’s always a big deal."

This is an even bigger deal. It’s a first, so there’s no rulebook on how to operate, especially for the Rivers family.

"I said to breathe. I’ll tell her that when I look at her in the crowd, relax," Austin Rivers said of his mom. "Just relax."

Doc Rivers joked he could have a tampering issue on his hands since he talked to his son about the possibility of the trade. Austin Rivers bought the sales pitch.

"(Doc said) is this something you might be interested in because we need you," Austin Rivers recalled. "When I heard that, It was one of those things where I had to think and take a day to myself and ask could this work? It does."

Austin Rivers said he looked forward to the prospect of playing for a contender first and foremost.

"I’m viewing it as an opportunity to play for a great team," Austin Rivers said. "The whole father-son thing, obviously people are going to read into it. It is what it is. I’m just focused on the basketball part."

Austin Rivers referred to Doc as his dad in the press conference. When both Rivers men were asked, in separate interviews, who would shoulder more of the pressure, they both responded that it was a good question.

Like father, like son.

Last week, Doc Rivers laughed at the notion he might play favoritism toward his son, and said he would moreso show favoritism to Griffin and Chris Paul.

Austin Rivers was asked the same.

"He’s too focused on his thing for that to be an issue. It’s almost like a disrespectful thing to my dad," Austin Rivers said. "My dad would never play me over someone because I’m his son. If I’m not playing well I’m sitting on the bench. He wants to win.

"My dad is the type of guy that when I was 5 years old, we played checkers, and he would not let me win. That’s how he is. He’s not doing any favors for me. I’ve got to earn everything. I think the guys know that. If we didn’t have the high character guys we have here, I don’t think he would’ve made the move. They know that I will play because I should play. If I don’t play, I’m not playing. I’m here to have a good attitude and help the team."

And make history.