Shams Charania reported on Wednesday that several teams are looking into Terry Rozier III as his restricted free agency approaches in June:
Quietly, at least seven teams have been monitoring Rozier’s status this season, league sources told The Athletic, waiting to see if the Celtics could begin to field trade calls. The Phoenix Suns have aggressively pursued Rozier, even before firing Ryan McDonough as general manager, league sources said.
The Phoenix Suns had reported interest leaked prior to firing Ryan McDonough, but the interest of at least six other teams is new. A few teams could use a point guard, and after a stellar playoff run last spring, Terry Rozier could fit the bill.
During training camp, Kyrie Irving, another Celtics point guard hitting free agency this summer, communicated his commitment to re-sign with the Boston Celtics to both management and, basically, the world with public comments. Because of this, Terry Rozier’s status with the team both this season and beyond was immediately cast in doubt.
Charania also noted that Rozier could potentially receive a contract offer ranging from $16 million to $20 million. Although general manager Danny Ainge is happy with the roster despite their 6-4 start, it’s easy to wonder whether or not he’d be content with losing Rozier for nothing this summer.
After signing Gordon Hayward in July of 2017, Boston faced a similar situation where they were forced to watch Kelly Olynyk walk away for free when he signed a 4-year/$50 million contract with the Miami Heat. If Ainge holds onto Rozier beyond the February trade deadline, that’s a very real reality that could come to pass once again in 2019.
The Celtics have to evaluate how much they’re willing to spend on two backup point guard (I’m counting Rozier here) after re-signing Marcus Smart to a 4-year/$52 million contract this past summer.
If Boston is not willing to commit big money to Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, there is a chance he could engage the trade market. Clearly, teams are interested. It remains to be seen whether Ainge would prefer future assets or a substitute for Rozier’s production currently. Although the Celtics are set up for long-term success, the goal this year is most certainly a championship. Losing Rozier impacts that goal in the short term. Boston’s front office has to weigh both cost and reward when deciding what to do with Rozier.
Should they choose to move on in the coming months, there will be no shortage of teams interested in making a deal for the upstart guard. Rozier is averaging 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting a career-high 39.4% from behind the 3-point line and 80% from the free-throw line through 10 games this season.