Houston Rockets new acquisition Austin Rivers diffused any talks of a potential tiff with starting point guard Chris Paul, who is currently sidelined with a Grade 2 hamstring strain — an injury which ironically has brought the two former L.A. Clippers together again.
Rivers and Paul took part in what became an infamous kerfuffle at the bowels of Staples Center last season, as Paul made his return to his old stomping grounds in a Rockets uniform.
When it comes to Rivers, fret no more.
“For better or worse, right?” Rivers said of his history against the Rockets, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “If we ever play in L.A., me and CP (Chris Paul) know all the tunnels. We'll be all right there. It's funny. This is a team I always admired and wanted to play for with (Mike) D'Antoni and the way they play, getting up and down. It's a very fitting place.”
Rivers was traded from Los Angeles to the Washington Wizards, who traded him to the Phoenix Suns right at the Dec. 15 trigger date that allowed players signed in the offseason to be traded. The 26-year-old was consequently waived by the Suns and then picked up by the Rockets at the wake of Paul's untimely injury.
“I know Chris Paul well. I have a relationship with him. I played with Eric (Gordon) in New Orleans,” said Rivers of his fit with his new team. “I played on the same AAU team with Brandon Knight. I grew up playing against Michael Carter-Williams. I trained with John Lucas, his crazy … After my rookie year, he had me up here for a month and then I left. I couldn't do it. I was like, ‘I got to go.' He was trying to kill me. He's great. I'm familiar with everybody on the team. It's cool.”
Hopefully things are as smooth for the Rockets as Rivers thinks they will be. Houston recently climbed into the playoff picture for the first time after bumping out the San Antonio Spurs from eighth place in the Western Conference.