The Boston Celtics are in “active” discussions with point guard Terry Rozier regarding an extension on his deal prior to the October 15 rookie extension deadline, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Brian Robb.
Rozier has been asked repeatedly about coming off the bench behind Kyrie Irving, and he has repeatedly said the right things about Irving and the Celtics organization. He is clearly willing to accept a role off the bench on this year’s Celtics team, which has a chance to compete for a championship.
“Obviously, who wouldn’t want to play 30 minutes for a winning team?” Rozier told Robb. “It’s hard to turn that down. Like I said, every situation has got to be right for me. This is my life.”
But going forward, Rozier would be excused for pushing to be a starting lead guard. He put together an impressive stretch in the postseason last year — the starting point guard for a Celtics team that was one solid quarter away from the NBA Finals.
That clearly isn’t likely to happen in Boston — Kyrie Irving told fans at a season-ticket holder event on Tuesday he plans to re-sign in Boston this summer, and Rozier won’t be the starting point guard while Irving remains in Boston. So why would the Celtics hope to extend him?
A few reasons. First, Irving’s announcement is a verbal commitment only. He is under no obligation to choose the Celtics in unrestricted free agency, and even if he does, he’s under no obligation to sign the full five-year max. He could easily sign on for another year or two, only to leave if he wants a change in scenery.
Second, as Rozier noted, the Celtics have created a great situation. Rozier is a key part — a reliable offensive option off the bench who also defends point guards at a high level. Rozier’s competitiveness fits well into Boston’s culture and adds an element the Celtics would miss if they dealt him or let him walk.
Third, additional flexibility is always important. If the Celtics put together a hypothetical package for another hypothetical superstar that involved parts of their young core, keeping a player like Rozier on retainer would be an incredible addition. If Jaylen Brown (for example) was moved, being able to plug Rozier into Brown’s slot would be a great plan.
It’s entirely plausible (maybe even likely) that the Celtics won’t be able to come to extension terms with Rozier by the October 15 deadline. But if they do, they will have locked in a promising young guard with intriguing versatility and a ton of developing skill. That can only be a positive.