Celtics point guard Terry Rozier has been unhappy with his playing time so far this season, according to Bill Simmons of The Ringer (Twitter link). Simmons suggests that word of Rozier’s discontent has “gotten around the league,” and that a trade of the 2019 free-agent-to-be may be necessary.
Simmons isn’t an NBA reporter in the traditional sense, but he’s plugged in, particularly in Boston, so there’s no reason to believe his intel is off here. Rozier himself admitted earlier in the season that his fluid role off the Celtics’ bench was “not the easiest” to embrace, and a report prior to last month’s rookie scale extension deadline suggested that Rozier would likely seek the “minutes and money” of a starter on his next contract
Last season, Rozier averaged 25.9 minutes per game during the regular season for the Celtics before playing an impressive 36.6 MPG during the postseason when Kyrie Irving was unavailable. With Irving and Marcus Smart both fully healthy so far this season, Rozier has seen his role reduced — he’s averaging 22.7 MPG through 10 games and has struggled to make an impact, with 7.5 PPG on 35.5% shooting.
Irving has verbally committed to re-signing with the Celtics and Smart is in the first year of a long-term deal, so the C’s may not be willing to invest heavily in a third point guard when Rozier reaches restricted free agency next summer. Still, the club will control the process and would have the opportunity to match any offer Rozier receives, potentially with an eye toward trading him later. As such, a deal before February’s deadline is far from a sure thing.
If the Celtics do make Rozier available, the Suns are one team that would have interest. An October report indicated that Phoenix would have “loved” to acquire Rozier during the offseason, as both Ryan McDonough and new interim GM James Jones attempted to make a deal. However, he was viewed at the time as “very unlikely” to be traded.
The Suns are hardly the only team that would be interested in landing Rozier. Shams Charania of The Athletic hears from sources that at least seven clubs around the NBA have been monitoring the situation and waiting to see if the Celtics will begin fielding trade calls on their backup point guard. For now, Charania notes, Boston seems happy with its roster.