The CelticsBlog staff addresses a key question facing the Celtics this offseason.
With Anthony Davis off to La La Land and Kyrie Irving likely exiting for the Big Apple, the Celtics are left with a lot of decisions. One of those involves what to do with restricted free agent Terry Rozier.
Still, [Rozier] is a restricted free agent, and it would be a shock if Boston didn’t extend him a qualifying offer. The market for Rozier would have been robust last summer, when Rozier took on a leading role in Irving’s absence. “He was talked about as an $18-20 million per year player,” an executive from a team with interest in Rozier told SI.com. Rozier’s struggles this season has cooled interest, and with Boston likely to match offers up to a certain number, Rozier could dangle on the free agent market for a while, as Marcus Smart did last summer.
“I’m a big fan of Terry’s,” Ainge told reporters earlier this month. “I think that if Terry was in the right circumstance and the right role, I think he would love playing in Boston, in my opinion. And if not, then I think Terry would let me know that. But Terry and I have a very good relationship, as Terry does with Brad as well.”
We asked our staff to weigh in with their thoughts on the situation and here’s what they had to say:
GIFs do not perfectly capture the entire spectrum of human emotion. Sometimes, though, there’s a flawless GIF for a given situation. Should the Celtics re-sign Terry Rozier? Insert Michael Scott “please God no” GIF. Rozier is essentially a replacement level guard. He’s a heinous point-of-attack defender lacking the size to defend other positions. He’s one of the worst decision-makers in the entire league. He’s one of the worst finishers at the rim in the entire league. Terry Rozier is really bad. Compared to other replacement level guards, his insanely destructive ball-dominance and very evident difficulty in the locker room mean I wouldn’t want Rozier making the league minimum, much less whatever ungodly sum he’s actually going to command.
Re-signing him and giving him a prominent role in Kyrie’s wake would be rewarding him for sabotaging an otherwise promising basketball season because he wouldn’t accept his role. Maybe he’d be a decent starter given the opportunity. Maybe the next bump in the road turns him into evil Terry again. I’d rather have someone that I’m fully confident will play within their role and within the system.
The spaghetti sandwich was the first red flag and we ignored it.
I think so for the simple sake of maximizing him as an asset. The market will dictate Terry Rozier’s worth and at a reasonable price the Celtics should keep him around. They don’t save any cap space by letting him go and he’s produced in a lead role in the past. That is not to say throw him in the starting lineup automatically. All roles should be open for competition next year. He speaks like someone who wants to return and can at least return to being a competitive defensive guard in rotation. Again, Brad Stevens will need to put him in position to succeed as he struggled in a point guard role last year that the team force fed him.
Hahahahahahahahahaha no. See: my Twitter feed
This may be surprising given my general feelings towards Rozier’s play last year: I would re-sign him. But there are conditions attached to that. I wouldn’t give him much more than $10 million average annual value. I’d make sure he understands that if he’s a backup, he’s expected to accept that role. If not, you’ll be traded. But overall, this is about not watching Rozier walk for nothing in return. But as stated above, if it gets too expensive, it’s best to just move on and wish him well with his next team.
This is a tough call. If Kyrie Irving decides to go elsewhere later this month the Celtics will have an obvious hole at the point guard position with limited options to go about filling the void. Rozier has proven in an admittedly small sample size that he can thrive when given starters’ minutes, but its hard to make a concrete decision based on 30 games.
For me, the only way you bring him back is if the money is right and you’ve exhausted all other avenues. There’s bound to be other point guard needy teams willing to overpay for Rozier’s services and anything over $10 million is, in my opinion, just way too expensive.
At 25 years old, there’s still plenty of room for improvement here, but, at the same time, I can’t help but think we’ve already seen what Rozier is: an inefficient lead guard best suited for a bench role. That said, I’ll pass on bringing him back into the fold next year and beyond.
I suppose there are some decent enough cases to be made for Rozier returning to the Celtics this season, assuming the contract stays within reason. Perhaps with Kyrie Irving out of the picture, Rozier will be more comfortable in his role on the team, and the infamous (and, I think, a little overstated) “Starter Terry” phenomenon will become his new normal. The Celtics are short on guards at the moment, but they’re still over the cap, so perhaps keeping Rozier on board at something around the $10 million per year mark that Keith mentioned would make sense. If nothing else, that money could be useful for salary matching in future trades.
Still, the idea of increasing Rozier’s role on this Celtics team makes me nervous. Rozier is a complete and total black hole on offense — despite playing just 22 minutes per game, he was second on the entire roster in total touches this past season, and all those possessions yielded just a 48% effective field goal percentage. He’s not a guy you want leading your roster in offensive touches. Additionally, he’s just not a point guard. I understand that he limits turnovers admirably well, but he’s a weak passer and a liability in the pick-and-roll, and throws some of the worst lobs you’ll see in an NBA game. He has the potential to completely derail a more egalitarian offensive system.
In all, I think it’s for the best for both parties if Rozier moves on to a new team this offseason.
What do you think?