On Wednesday, one report indicated that Terry Rozier was unhappy with his playing time so far this season and another suggested that seven teams were monitoring him to see if the Celtics will start listening to trade inquiries. However, the C’s are downplaying the idea that Rozier is dissatisfied with his role or that he’ll be on the trade market this season.
Appearing on the radio show Toucher & Rich today, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that Rozier hasn’t complained about his playing time at all to Ainge (link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).
“I talk to Terry quite a bit and I haven’t heard any of those types of things. So I don’t know how reliable any of the sources or rumors are,” Ainge said, per Forsberg. “Terry knew going in this year what his situation, what his role was going to be, and he was as excited and enthusiastic as anybody on our team for the upcoming season. I know for sure that Terry would love to be playing more more minutes but there’s a lot of guys on the team that would love to be playing more minutes.”
Ainge said he believes Rozier would come to him or head coach Brad Stevens if he were upset at all, and that hasn’t happened so far. The C’s president added that no teams have called him about Rozier since the regular season started, and he doesn’t know anything about the seven clubs reportedly monitoring him.
Meanwhile, Jeff Goodman of Stadium tweets that he talked to Rozier about his role in Boston last week and the point guard showed “a ton of maturity.” According to Goodman, the 24-year-old said he’d obviously like to play more, but he knew coming into the season that minutes would be hard to come by in a loaded Celtics rotation, as Ainge indicated.
Finally, a league source tells Brian Robb of BostonSportsJournal.com that a Rozier trade before February’s deadline is “extremely unlikely.”
If Rozier is truly unhappy with his situation in Boston and wants to be dealt, it would hurt the team’s leverage in potential negotiations, so it’s no surprise that Ainge and the Celtics would be eager to dismiss the idea that anything is amiss. On the other hand, it also would make sense that the franchise genuinely wants to hang onto Rozier through the 2018/19 season, even if re-signing him as a restricted free agent in 2019 is far from a sure thing.
The Celtics, despite a modest 6-4 start, are still one of the deepest and most talented teams in the NBA, and making an in-season deal that includes a key rotation player like Rozier could impact the team’s chemistry and/or depth. Additionally, even though Kyrie Irving has verbally committed to re-signing with the club in 2019, that won’t be official until he puts pen to paper in July — trading his backup in February may be an unnecessary risk for the C’s, especially if no team is willing to offer a substantial package for Rozier.
This situation is definitely worth watching over the next couple months, but for now it seems more likely than not that Rozier remains a Celtic through the trade deadline.