BY Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics have until Monday to sign Terry Rozier to a contract extension, or the third-year guard will become a restricted free agent next summer.
It sounds like Danny Ainge would rather not have his electric backup guard hit the market. The two sides are reportedly working hard to iron out a new deal, one that will give Rozier a significant raise going forward, according to Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal (subscription required).
The 24-year-old is set to earn $3 million for the final year of his rookie contract, but an NBA executive tells Robb that Rozier will likely get a deal worth $15-million-plus per season. Not a bad bump in pay for Rozier, who had a breakout season for Boston in 2017-18 when he averaged 11.3 points off 40 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Rozier spent much of the season coming off the Boston bench, but elevated his game whenever he was called upon to fill in for an injured Kyrie Irving, upping his averages to 15.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 16 starts.
He again took his game to another level in the playoffs, averaging 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists in Boston’s surprising run to the Eastern Conference finals. Rozier was the talk of the NBA as he dropped 17.6 points per game against the Bucks in Boston’s first-round series, and his war of words with Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe brought his “Scary Terry” persona to new levels. He averaged 19 points in Boston’s five-game series win over the 76ers in the second round before returning to earth in the Eastern Conference Finals, as the Cavaliers ended Boston’s dream season in seven games. Rozier struggled throughout the series, shooting just 26 percent from three-point range.
But he showed vast improvements just about everywhere throughout the 2017-18 campaign, and is primed for an even bigger 2018-19 season for a Celtics team with championship aspirations. He gives them some solid insurance should Irving’s balky knee act up again, and figures to be a massive part of Boston’s strong bench along with Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes.
Irving has already committed to Boston long-term after the season, but that doesn’t look like it will stop Ainge from locking up an important piece off the bench. Even if the two sides cannot agree on a deal before Monday’s deadline, the Celtics will have the opportunity to match any offer Rozier receives in restricted free agency.
And if you’re worried that a $15-million per year salary is too much for a reserve guard, Ainge should have no problem fitting that contract into any future trades for another star player (*cough* Anthony Davis *cough*).