It looks like there are no Terry Rozier trade talks, after all.
Just hours after rumors floated about Rozier being frustrated with his lack of playing time and that at least seven teams were interested in trading for the young guard, Boston Celtics president and general manager Danny Ainge quickly shut down the outside noise.
During an appearance on Boston’s radio show Toucher and Rich on Thursday morning, Ainge said that Rozier is not unhappy and ‘has not vented about playing.’ He also said no teams have inquired about Boston’s point guard.
Rozier backed up Ainge’s claim by stating that he’s happy in Boston, via Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal, saying he doesn’t know where these rumors came from.
“The Celtics selected Rozier far above where anyone expected them to at No. 16 overall in the 2015 draft,” Charania wrote. “They nailed the pick. But committing a full five-year maximum contract to Irving this offseason would make it difficult to match a potential $16-to-$20 million per year (or more) offer sheet on Rozier.”
The Celtics have had a rocky start to the 2018-19 season yet sit in third place with a 6-4 record. They have the 26th-ranked offense in the league and a unit that ranks 18th in pace. It wouldn’t come as any shock if Boston was looking to shake things up. When you factor in that the Celtics will be looking to re-sign Irving in 2019 and that they won’t have the cap space to re-sign a backup point guard like Rozier to a deal worth $16M-$20M, why would it be shocking that they’d be looking to deal Rozier to receive something in return for him while they can?
Listen, we all know that Ainge is a master of mind games. This is a guy who will do anything to make his team better, and if that means saying something publicly that goes against the actual truth, he’d do it in a heartbeat. Look at what he did with Isaiah Thomas. Ainge is always a step ahead of the game and he knows that if he squashes these rumors, he accomplishes two things: he keeps the distractions away from the Celtics and also increases Rozier’s trade value as a result.
The Celtics could very well keep Rozier. After all, Irving looks a step slower and Boston is trying to establish Eastern Conference supremacy for the first time with this current core. It doesn’t hurt to have depth, and Rozier gives them exactly that. However, Ainge also knows how to negotiate and get value out of guys before their contracts expire.
Don’t be surprised if Rozier ends up getting moved, after all.