Austin Rivers’ passionate rant on making the New York Knicks great again
Austin Rivers is here to save the New York Knicks.
The Knicks signed the combo guard to a three-year, $10 million deal last week. In his first formal media availability, the 28-year-old shared that taking on the challenge of winning in New York and changing the floundering franchise’s perception was a major factor in his decision.
“The opportunity was obvious,’’ Rivers said, via the New York Post. “In a city that is regarded as the mecca of basketball with the fans they have, why not try to be part of something special? Everything right now is headed in the right direction — from the hiring of the coach, to hiring of management and assistant coaches and the picks they drafted. We’re building to be part of something is special.”
Rivers added that he was intrigued by the chance to help spearhead an organization change and turn the Knicks back into a free agent destination, rather than join a team on the verge of contention.
“It’s easy to go somewhere where everything already is set up and they’ve been to the playoffs four, five years in a row,’’ Rivers said. “I’ve been on those teams. Those are great experiences. But I want to take those experiences and lessons and help this team and this organization as many ways as possible. That era of people not wanting to come here, our job is to change that. We have to make that attractive. And we will. We have everything else. We have the city of New York and the best fans in basketball. You play in Madison Square Garden every night. You have the style of living. You got all that. It’s our job as players — the management could only do so much. So it’s exciting. I wanted to be a part of it. Why not?’’
Austin Rivers has always projected an immense level of confidence, and he isn’t worried about handling the pressure of the Garden and New York.
“If you’re a real hooper, if you really like playing on the biggest stage, this is it,’’ he said.
Rivers averaged 8.8 points per game on 42.% shooting for the Houston Rockets last season.