Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier reportedly won’t agree to an extension prior to the October 15 deadline, according to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
Assuming nothing changes, Rozier will be a restricted free agent this summer after the Celtics’ season is over.
In interviews recently, Rozier has not sounded like a player who expects to reach an agreement, nor has he sounded particularly concerned about it. Himmelsbach reported Rozier is hoping to make something close to $20 million per year on his new deal — money that might be prohibitive for the Celtics, given their current and future cap situation.
Per Himmelsbach, in addition to a big contract, Rozier also hopes to be a starter — something the Celtics wouldn’t be able to facilitate without significant shake-up. Kyrie Irving told fans and media he expects to re-sign in Boston this summer on something close to a five-year, $189 million deal, and Rozier won’t start over Irving. Jaylen Brown has been playing something akin to the two since last year, and Rozier isn’t likely to start over him either.
Rozier could accept the Celtics’ qualifying offer of $4.3 million this summer as well, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
But if Rozier is looking for a new situation, the Celtics might look to deal him prior to the February trade deadline. Acquiring control over Rozier’s restricted free agency, assuming he doesn’t simply take the qualifying offer, could be an attractive option for potential trade partners, and the Celtics have several back-up options at point guard.
The Celtics, who are championship contenders this season, could also simply let the season play out and see where Rozier’s restricted free agency takes him.
“(The extension) is a huge step, but I’ve just been trying to focus so much,” Rozier said, when asked about extension talks on Thursday. “We’ve got our first game coming up. That’s big for us. We haven’t been playing good in the preseason, so we’ve been trying to focus on us and I’ve been trying to take the pressure off the extension thing. So I’m focused on the team. If it’s right for me to sign an extension, I will. If it’s not, it still can happen in the summer. So, you never know.”
Marcus Smart, who went through a similar situation last year, said Rozier just needs to be himself.
“It’s tough, but Terry is a great player,” Smart said. “Really, all he has to do is just go out there and let his play do the talking for him and not really focus on everything, because once you start focusing on it, it takes you out of what the real goal is, and that’s to help this team win a banner. When you start doing that, focusing on things and distractions like that, it kind of puts you out of whack. So my advice to Terry is just go out there and play. Don’t think about anything else but playing, and everything else will fall into place.”