GROTON, Mass. – Terry Rozier has been in the NBA long enough to know that there’s no such thing as an offseason when it comes to trade rumors.
Rozier, who will be a restricted free agent next summer unless he and the Boston Celtics can work out a contract extension before the start of the season, has already seen and heard his name being mentioned as a player a number of teams have interest in acquiring.
“It’s only going to get crazier every year, I feel,” said Rozier who was the featured Celtics player during the Arbella Insurance Home Court Makeover for the Plotkin family. “You just have to try and control what you can control. Try to focus on getting better every summer. Getting wiser, thinking about the game. I’m ready to get it going, ready to start the season.”
It makes sense considering how Rozier elevated his play during the postseason in place of Kyrie Irving who was out following a surgical procedure to remove infected hardware from his left knee that was surgically repaired in 2015.
Rozier averaged a career-high 11.3 points in 25.9 minutes per game last season – both career highs.
When Irving was lost for the Celtics heading into the playoffs, an earlier-than-expected ending was the thinking of many for Boston
Fortunately for the Celtics, Rozier had a different plan.
Several players stepped their game up in the postseason for Boston, but Rozier’s improved play stood out from the rest.
The 6-2 guard filled the stat sheet in several key categories, finishing his postseason run with playoff career highs in scoring (16.5), rebounds (5.3), assists (5.7) and steals (1.3).
He knows that despite that strong postseason showing, his role won’t be as grand with Irving healthy and back in the fold.
“I’ll adjust,” Rozier said. “Me being a basketball player, me being me. I’ll be fine. I’m not so much worried about it. It’s going to make it more fun, more stuff-talking, you gotta love it. I’m just as happy as anybody that he’s back. It’s going to be a great season.”
But will it be Rozier’s last one in Boston?
There are a handful of teams that will make a run at Rozier if he becomes a restricted free agent next summer, sensing that Boston may not match a high-salaried offer for Rozier if they are able to get Kyrie Irving to re-sign. And as much as Rozier enjoys the idea of being in Boston and part of a championship-contending team, he’s never going to get the big stage to himself the way he did this past postseason with Irving around and healthy.
And even as teams inquire about his availability now, Rozier has no intention of running into Danny Ainge’s office anytime soon other than to maybe crack a few jokes with him, or possibly try and convince Ainge to get a “317” tattoo his (it represents March 17 which is both Rozier and Ainge’s birthday).
As far as asking about teams interested in trading for him, Rozier says that’s not happening anytime soon.
“Me and Danny, our relationship is the same,” Rozier said. “When I see him, we talk a little mess and joke around. It’s never a bad talk or nothing, never too serious. I know he does his job and he counts on me to do my job which is to get in there and work hard and worry about what I need to worry about. He makes sure my head is on straight and not worry about the talk.”
Because the talk does nothing to help or hinder Rozier’s situation.
His future, whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere, still comes down to how he performs on the floor.
“I mean, I’ll see how it goes for myself,” he said. “I’m not really going crazy. I got a season to worry about. I’m not worried about what’s next for me individually; I’m just worrying about how special this team can be.”