BOSTON -- Terry Rozier will become the latest player drafted by the Boston Celtics to not get a contract extension agreed upon prior to the start of his fourth NBA season.
The decision by Rozier to not accept the offer worth about $12 million annually was strictly business, with no hard feelings or bitterness on Rozier’s part towards Boston or vice versa.
With restricted free agency on the horizon, Rozier’s focus now is all about basketball.
“I’m in a great situation,” Rozier, smiling, told NBC Sports Boston. “My team felt it wasn’t good for me to sign an extension right now. It opens my options a little bit, but I’m focused on what’s happening right now.”
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And that’s preparing for the season opener against Philadelphia on Tuesday, one of the few teams expected to seriously challenge Boston for supremacy in the East this season.
Rozier had a breakout performance in the playoffs last season which included strong play in Boston’s second-round series knockout of the Sixers in just five games which at least one Celtics player felt was one game too many.
"We should have swept them but we let them win one game,” Jayson Tatum told reporters on Sunday afternoon prior to the Celtics practice.
One of the reasons why Boston was so successful in the series was the play of Rozier.
Against Philly in the playoffs, Rozier averaged 19.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range.
Rozier’s play in that series, and the playoffs in general, established him as a player with starter potential in this league.
Which is why, despite his restricted free agent status, there are a number of teams that are expected to make a run at him. That's due to Boston having five-time All-Star Kyrie Irving, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but recently went public with his desire to re-sign with the Celtics sometime in July.
Coming into this season, Rozier hadn’t spent much time thinking about his contract situation.
Instead, he has been focused on doing whatever he can to better himself as a player with the knowledge that his minutes and those of several Celtics, will probably take a dip from where they were a year ago.
“I feel like I’m one of those guys, I can make it work, whether it’s a little bit of space, a little bit of time,” Rozier said. “I’ve always been a team guy. For me, to be that way it has always opened up stuff for me, with me being about the team. I think it’ll all work out for me.”
And just like he tries to push Irving in practice daily, he knows in doing so will also help him in terms of playing time.
“I’m gonna keep putting that pressure on Brad (Stevens) to play me,” grinned Rozier who added, “and just have fun with it.”