PHILADELPHIA — 76ers coach Doc Rivers talks to his former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, but discussing his son Austin Rivers is now off limits.
Rivers, who signed with the Knicks as a free agent in November, was banished from the rotation after the Super Bowl Sunday trade for Derrick Rose. Rivers didn’t handle it gloriously as he was missing from the bench at a recent home game.
He hasn’t been with the Knicks since the All-Star break ended for “personal reasons.’’ Thibodeau said Rivers is expecting a baby with his fiancée and has taken paternity leave. The trade deadline is March 25. Rivers, in his last chat with the media, said he felt he could be traded any moment.
“That’s basketball — I stay out of that,’’ the Sixers coach said before facing the Knicks on Tuesday. “Tom and I talk, but not about Austin. I don’t call coaches and suggest who they should play. I just don’t. If it’s your son or not. I stay away from that.’’
In December Rivers, who played with the Knicks from 1992-94, told The Post he recommended his former franchise to his son. Asked about his son’s situation now, Rivers again demurred, awkwardly.
“I don’t comment on that,’’ Rivers said. “In this case, Austin is a player on their team. It’s not a place to make a comment. It would be like making comments on players on other teams [regarding playing time]. It would be poor form.’’
However, Rivers was happy to share his thoughts on Julius Randle’s turnaround — with his son as his source.
“I’m just happy for him,’’ Rivers said. “I get information from talking to Austin. Austin just raves about what type of human being he is, how he’s a great passer and outworks everyone in the gym, how all his teammates love him. Julius Randle didn’t have that narrative before. When a veteran players like Austin whose been in the league eight years is saying that about a younger guy, it tells you something about Julius and what kind of guy he is.’’