Despite a relatively slow start, Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier is in high demand among teams looking for a starting point guard, according to the Athletic’s Shams Charania.
In his Inside Pass column today, Charania wrote that “at least seven” teams have been monitoring Rozier’s status with the Celtics, including Boston’s opponent on Thursday — the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix has reportedly aggressively pursued Rozier both before and after Ryan McDonough’s firing in an attempt to bolster their young core with a primary ball-handler.
The Celtics, however, aren’t looking to make a move according to Charania. They are content for the time being, hoping to compete deep into June with their deep roster.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons tweeted that Rozier has been unhappy with his playing time, and that the Celtics have to make a move to deal him.
Prior to the season, Rozier said all of the right things repeatedly. One day removed from his stellar performance in the playoffs (marred by a poor shooting night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals), he told reporters at his exit interviews that he expected to go back to the bench with Kyrie Irving returning. Marcus Smart re-signing over the summer limited Rozier’s minutes further, although after averaging 25.9 minutes per game in 2017-18, Rozier is only down to 22.7 through the first 10 games, which isn’t an enormous drop.
There are several reasons the Celtics wouldn’t trade Rozier. First, despite some recent backlash online, he’s very good, and certainly a starting caliber point guard. He can be streaky, but the Celtics can minimize the issues of Rozier’s streakiness with Irving’s return to the lineup. His trade value was never higher than it was this summer, and it’s much lower now after struggling through 10 games.
Second, he’s a restricted free agent after this season, so Boston can match any offer thrown at him. That could mean the Celtics lose him for nothing, but it also could mean they retain him for a bargain.
Third, despite Irving’s assurances he plans to re-sign, getting rid of a young, starting caliber point guard who showed he can perform in the playoffs before inking Irving to a new max deal feels a little reckless.
And finally, Rozier could be a valuable sign-and-trade chip this summer. Boston has an excellent roster, but Danny Ainge will still be looking at stars. Rozier would be a positive addition to any trade package, as would Smart, which would open up more minutes for Rozier.
Of course, it’s also possible a team makes Ainge an offer he can’t refuse, although what that offer would look like remains a little unclear. In any case, where Rozier’s situation goes will certainly be worth following.