“Scary Terry” may be headed out of Boston.
Celtics point guard Terry Rozier enjoyed a breakout in 2017-18 in the wake of Kyrie Irving’s season-ending injury. Last March, Rozier averaged 17.2 points over 33.4 minutes per game, and carried his impressive play over to the postseason, where he led Boston in minutes and led the team to within a game of the NBA Finals.
With Irving back in the fold, however, 2018 has been a different story. Ten games into the season, Rozier has played only 22.7 minutes per game, not only behind Irving but also fellow point guard Marcus Smart. His scoring has fallen to only 7.5 points per game, and his lack of playing time and production has led to discord within the Celtics roster, according to reports.
The Athletic reported that at least seven teams have been “monitoring Rozier’s status,” waiting to see if the Celtics will field trade calls. The Suns have been the most aggressive in that regard, having started pursuing him even before firing general manager Ryan McDonough on October 8.
According to the report, Celtics GM Danny Ainge is “content” with his roster and seems to have little interest in trading Rozier. But the Celtics also have a logjam at point guard, especially after Irving stated that he intends to re-sign in Boston at season’s end.
Rozier will be a restricted free agent in 2019, and could command a contract around $16-20 million per year, according to The Athletic. With Irving still around, it would be hard to justify paying a backup point guard that much money.
So it seems to make sense for the Celtics to kick the tires on a potential trade. The Suns will get a good look at Rozier Thursday night, as the two teams are set to face off in Phoenix.
Expected to compete for a championship, the Celtics have gotten off to a relatively slow 6-4 start this season, while posting the league’s fifth-worst offense. They could offer Rozier as bait for offensive help at a different position.