The Celtics should find a trade partner for Rozier — soon
It’s been relatively quiet this summer around Boston. While other teams have gone after big-name free agents, the Celtics have focused on retaining their core and not much else. This is perfectly fine: the team doesn’t seem to have any need to make a splash. However, one move they should attempt to make this summer is moving Terry Rozier, sooner rather than later.
Rozier is coming off of an elite performance from the back end of the regular season through the playoffs. As a starter in the regular season, he averaged 15.6 points, 5.1 assists and 6.4 boards, including a stretch of 25 straight games scoring in double digits. He only got better in the playoffs, averaging 16.7/5.7/5.3 as “Scary Terry” emerged early on in the run. As a result, Rozier’s value is sky-high right now after showing the league what he can do.
The catch? It’s probably as high as it will ever get. Rozier will return to his role on the bench behind Kyrie Irving this season. With a fully healthy team, he’s likely to see the majority of his minutes disappear. The returns on Rozier would be higher this summer than at any other point down the line.
The other issue is that the young point guard becomes a restricted free agent come season’s end. Many fans are more concerned about the reports that Kyrie Irving wants to go to the Knicks. However, Rozier could be far more likely to leave if he wants to chase a starting role in the NBA, a role in which many teams think he is more than capable. Danny Ainge is more than intelligent enough to know that one would rather get something for a player than let him walk. Ainge is known for making smart decisions for the franchise. One such decision for him to make right now is shipping out Rozier.
The Celtics can attempt to go in multiple directions with Rozier this summer in terms of a transaction. He’s certainly an attractive asset in any deal. Sure, he’s a scorer and a play maker, but also for his contract value. He carries a cap hit of just $3.05M this season. That’s a steal for a player of his caliber. With that in mind, here’s what Rozier could potentially fetch this summer.
If the Celtics decide that they don’t want to package Rozier with anyone, he could help Danny Ainge replenish his stash of draft picks. For a team in need of a point guard, Rozier could be worth at least a few second round draft picks, or even a top-10 protected first round selection for a team that really wants him. The Celtics could also potentially swap him for another player, a la Avery Bradley for Marcus Morris last year. They could target a true center that they’re still missing, or go for a point guard who’s locked into a longer deal.
However, if the team decides to add Terry Rozier to a package deal, it could fetch far more. His name has been included in packages for Kawhi Leonard, and if the Celts wanted to go get Jimmy Butler, his name could certainly entice the TImberwolves to pull the trigger. There could be any combination of Rozier and draft picks, as well as Marcus Morris, or one of Boston’s young end-of-the-bench players in Guerschon Yabusele or Abdel Nader. However, the Celtics would make Terry Rozier the forefront of any package.
The Bottom Line
If there’s any player that has the most potential to be traded this summer, it should be Terry Rozier. The talent that he showed last season, coupled with his team-friendly contract, should make him the centerpiece of any trade discussions. If the team doesn’t decide to go in that direction, then they have another reliable role player to help them contend for a championship this year. That being said, it’s in the team’s best interests to trade Scary Terry, before it’s too late to get a good return for him.
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