By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It should really come as no surprise that Terry Rozier isn’t happy with his playing time.
But that is where we are 10 games into the 2018-19 Celtics season, with Terry Rozier reportedly unhappy with his playing time, according to The Ringer’s Bill Simmons. This is a surprise to Simmons, but the only surprise here is that this is somehow a surprise to someone who is a die-hard Celtics honk.
Rozier put together a fine run last postseason in place of the injured Kyrie Irving, but he’s averaging just 22.7 minutes this season with Irving and Gordon Hayward back in the mix for Boston. That’s down from his 25.9 minutes per game last regular season, and his 36.6 minutes during the playoffs.
Heading toward restricted free agency this offseason, a decrease in minutes is not going to help Rozier in his quest for a $20 million per year paycheck. So you can understand why he’s not too pleased with the way things have played out over the first 10 games of the season. Add in the fact that Irving has verbally committed to Boston long-term, and Rozier is in an uncomfortable limbo at the moment. He may not be part of Boston’s future plans, and he doesn’t think they’re giving him the chance to showcase his talents (and wash off the stain of that horrible Game 7 performance in the Eastern Conference finals). It would greatly benefit his future if he got starting minutes elsewhere, even if that team is sitting in the NBA’s basement. Plus, he must know by now that Ainge would trade him (or anyone else) in a heartbeat if he thinks it would improve Boston’s chances at winning a title.
And according to The Athletic’s Sham Charania (subscription required), there are a bunch of teams keeping a close ear to the ground when it comes to Rozier.
“Quietly, at least seven teams have been monitoring Rozier’s status this season, league sources told The Athletic, waiting to see if the Celtics could begin to field trade calls. The Phoenix Suns have aggressively pursued Rozier, even before firing Ryan McDonough as general manager, league sources said,” wrote Charania, adding that the Celtics are currently content with their roster.
While Simmons believes Danny Ainge needs to trade Rozier, that isn’t necessarily the case. While Rozier would probably get them a decent return, the Celtics don’t need to trade anyone at the moment. Rozier can be miffed about his PT all he wants, but Brad Stevens will simply tell him to go out and earn his additional minutes. He is also a good insurance policy to have in case Irving’s knees act up or Marcus Smart decides to punch another picture.
Rozier has to weigh two things before a demanding a trade. Does he want to be an important role player on a team competing for a title, or does he want to be the leading scorer on a bad team? He may ultimately demand a trade at some point if he doesn’t get the minutes he wants, but he still has a chance to be an big piece to Boston’s success.