Terry Rozier on Celtics’ keeping roster intact: ‘Nah, I might have to go’
Terry Rozier indicated his dissatisfaction with the Celtics.
Now, he’s really unloading.
In interviews on ESPN today, Rozier discussed his struggle to fit with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Rozier also cast aspersions on Brad Stevens, noting the coach often pitted starters against backups during practice then mixed and matched between the groups during games rather than using separate units.
Would Rozier want to return to Boston with a similar roster?
Rozier on ESPN, as transcribed by Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:
Unfortunately for Rozier, he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. Boston will still dictate where he plays next season.
The issue might take care of itself. If Irving leaves, the Celtics might welcome back Rozier as their starting point guard – a situation he probably wouldn’t mind. If Irving stays, Boston probably won’t pay to keep Rozier as a backup.
However, his restricted status and down season could cool his market. There’s certainly a possibility Rozier is cheap enough for the Celtics to keep as a backup, maybe on his qualifying offer.
Rozier could also resist playing with Hayward, with or without Irving. When Rozier and Hayward played together this year, Hayward controlled the ball much more, both finishing plays and distributing. Stevens clearly trusts Hayward as a playmaker. Maybe Rozier would accept that balancing act in the starting lineup, but it’s not a given.
This all leaves potential for Rozier’s restricted free agency to get nasty as he tries to get himself where he wants to be.
Heck, maybe it has already reached that level. Rozier sure sounds like he’s burning bridges (though, to switch infrastructure metaphors, fences can be mended quickly if Irving leaves).
Rozier’s criticism of Stevens’ practice-vs.-game lineups seems unfair. Perhaps, Stevens just wanted to maximize the time his top players practiced together. After all, those players are often on the court together when it counts. That’d leave the reserves on the other side in practice. The system might have been designed to help starters, not all players. It’d be on the backups to make do. Don’t like it, work your way into being a starter.
Which it seems Rozier is trying to do.