While Kyrie Irving has been linked to New York for months, he’s not the only Celtics free agent that the Knicks will have their eye on this offseason. League sources tell A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston that the Knicks will also have interest in Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris.
Rozier, who is finishing his rookie contract with Boston, will be eligible for restricted free agent, meaning the Celtics will have the option to match any offer sheet he signs, assuming they issue him a qualifying offer to retain his rights. Morris will be an unrestricted free agent.
While Rozier and Morris may be among the names on the Knicks’ wish list, the team figures to use its cap room to target top-tier free agents like Irving and Kevin Durant before turning to its Plan B or C. According to Blakely, New York has also expressed some interest in Daniel Theis, but he’d be even further down the club’s list, and isn’t considered a likely target.
Rozier’s free agency should be one of the more interesting cases this summer, particularly among non-stars. He spoke at the end of the Celtics’ season about wanting a “fresh start” and a more prominent role, whether that happens in Boston or elsewhere. And during an appearance today on ESPN’s Get Up (video link via Chris Grenham of NESN), he expressed little interest in returning to Boston if the C’s plan to run it back in 2019/20 with the same roster.
“I might have to go,” Rozier told Stephen A. Smith when asked about that scenario. “I put up with a lot this year. I said what I said after the season. I think we all know that I’m not trying to step into that again.”
During the same interview, Rozier also didn’t exactly offer an enthusiastic endorsement for his experience of playing alongside – and behind – Irving in Boston.
“He’s a great guy, great leader,” Rozier said of Irving (video link via The Undefeated). “You know, you just have to adjust to his style. Whatever Kyrie wants done, he’s gonna show it, that’s what he wants done. You have to adjust to his style of play and how he goes about every game and every day.”