Storyline: Terry Rozier Free Agency

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With Rozier hitting restricted free agency later in July, he was pressed about his future in Boston. “I’m looking forward to just play ball,” Rozier said. “I don’t care where I go. Obviously the Celtics is the only organization I knew for four years. I love it there, and we just have to go from there. … I expect for me to get my chance, whether it’s with the Celtics or it’s anywhere else. I feel like I can be myself and play my game wherever I go.” He was asked later in the program though about the possibility of coming back with this current roster intact and threw cold water on the idea. “I might have to go. I put up with a lot this year. I said what I said after the season. I think we all know that I’m not trying to step into that again.”

Multiple league sources tell NBC Sports Boston that the Knicks, a team with plenty of roster holes to fill this offseason, have interest in at least two other Celtics players besides Irving — Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier — who like Irving, will be free agents this summer. New York’s interest in Rozier has been steady, only to have picked up during Rozier’s strong showing in the playoffs last year and continued through the February trade deadline, which is when Boston made the decision to keep Rozier and the rest of the team intact.

Meanwhile, Terry Rozier gave a “no comment” when asked about the Celtics having his matching rights, commending Brad Stevens for “dealing with a lot of guys that want to be great trying to get theirs.” The Celtics held on to Rozier as an insurance policy in case Irving left this summer, but Rozier and his agents will try to price the team out of his market. It leaves Boston with a conundrum of whether, with Rozier likely gone, moving forward with Irving is actually in their best interest.
3 weeks ago via ESPN

Another cause is an age-old conflict — lack of playing time. Rozier, who was a postseason star in 2018 while Irving recovered from knee surgery, saw his minutes and his shots reduced in a season when he was approaching free agency. “I felt like I went from the passenger seat to the trunk,” Rozier says, with a wry smile. “Everybody tells you, ‘Don’t think about the contract, don’t think about the money.’ I always tell myself, ‘I’ll get what I deserve one day. Maybe not this day, but one day.'”

The second is a function of the market as it stands. According to league sources, while there are certainly teams interested in Smith, there is some reluctance to make a commitment to him because there could be other more traditional young point guards on the market this summer. There will be the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker in free agency, of course. But for rebuilding teams in need of a point guard — Orlando and Phoenix have been mentioned as possible Smith suitors — the preference is to take aim at young restricted free agents like Terry Rozier or D’Angelo Russell this summer rather than gamble on whether Smith can develop into a point guard. “He is very athletic, but he’s not a playmaker and not a great shooter,” one front office executive told SN. “If you have money under the cap this offseason (the Suns and Magic will), there are other guys you can pursue who fit better, who can pass and score.”

Rozier acknowledged that he had to weigh the balance of contributing to a contender or seeking a more high-profile and less predictable role. His frustration never boiled over into a trade request. “If you know me, I’m not one to stir the pot,” said Rozier. “That’s not me. That’s not how I do things.” He proved his value in last year’s playoffs, and he can continue to do so in a reserve role on another deep run. Come July, Rozier can revisit the choice between re-signing with a star-studded roster in Boston or seeking a more lucrative opportunity elsewhere. That decision may already be made, or the Celtics might make it for him, but he’s not going to let it get in the way of his success. Not anymore. “I just need to play my game,” said Rozier, “and the rest of that stuff will work itself out.”

Up in the land of Kyrie, Knicks coach David Fizdale gave his strongest case yet that the Knicks have become an attractive free-agent destination after 25 games on the job. The Knicks are closing in on having cap space for a maximum salary this summer but have work to do. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, a Northern Jersey product, was considered their best chance until he proclaimed he will re-sign, but that is no guarantee after the Celtics’ sluggish start. Irving’s backup, Terry Rozier, is also a restricted free agent, and the two of them may not be able to coexist long term. The Knicks like Rozier a lot, according to a source.

The Knicks are closing in on having cap space for a maximum salary this summer but have work to do. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, a Northern Jersey product, was considered their best chance until he proclaimed he will re-sign, but that is no guarantee after the Celtics’ sluggish start. Irving’s backup, Terry Rozier, is also a restricted free agent, and the two of them may not be able to coexist long term. The Knicks like Rozier a lot, according to a source.

On Rick Pitino’s podcast you said you want everything you deserve in free agency. What do you mean by that? Terry Rozier: Yeah, that podcast was old. I did that podcast about a month ago. (That) shit (is) dumb old. So I don’t know why he’s just now coming out with it. It was just more attention on myself, so everything was just — but I want everything I deserve. And I’m going to get everything I deserve. Like I said, I’ve been around this game long enough to see how both sides work, and that’s why it helped me make my decisions.

“There’s not going to be any extension,” the source said. “It wouldn’t make any sense for Terry to do that.” It was never likely that Rozier, 24, would sign an extension given his current role as a backup to Kyrie Irving. Then last week Irving publicly declared his intention to re-sign with the Celtics after this season, making Rozier’s interest in a long-term extension on a team-friendly deal even more of a long shot. Irving likely will command a five-year, $189 million maximum-salary contract.
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May 25, 2019 | 8:19 pm EDT Update