Terry Rozier

Atlantic Notes: Walker, Carmelo, Rozier, Payton

The chemistry problems that plagued the Celtics last season don’t appear to be a concern now that Kemba Walker has replaced Kyrie Irving in the Boston backcourt, writes Sekou Smith of NBA.com. Walker is getting to know three of his new teammates — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart — while preparing for the FIBA World Cup, and it sounds like they’re off to a great start.

“They’re just some really good young dudes and I just enjoy being around them,” Walker said. “And the age difference is really crazy to me. J.T. is like 21 and J.B. is 22 and Marcus is 25. And I’m 29 and feeling like, wow, this is cool. It sounds crazy. I remember when I was 21 in this league. I was a rookie and just trying to figure it all out. And these guys are young vets already. Like I said, it’s crazy.”

Age difference was a recurring theme in Boston last season as Irving frequently criticized his younger teammates and talked to the press about how tough it is to be a leader. Walker has raved about the work ethic that Tatum, Brown and Smart are showing and how quickly they’ve adapted to the international game.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Carmelo Anthony‘s presence in summer workouts with Nets players doesn’t mean Brooklyn plans to sign him, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post“Nothing to it,” a source close to Anthony said. “There’s several guys (playing) that aren’t Nets, but friends and other NBA players.” Team officials and Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, refused to comment.
  • Terry Rozier, who signed with the Hornets last month, tells Lewis in a separate story that there are no hard feelings between him and Irving after their tumultuous time with the Celtics“A lot of people don’t know how great of a person he is,” Rozier said. “A lot of people think I hate Kyrie. And a lot of people think that me and Kyrie not cool, but we text, and I text him right before free agency.”
  • Knicks GM Scott Perry had been pursuing Elfrid Payton for a long time before signing him in July, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Perry, who acquired Payton for the Magic in a draft-night trade in 2014, attempted to bring him to New York at the 2018 trade deadline. “I’m very aware of Scott’s interest,’’ said Payton’s father, Elfrid Payton Sr. “He’s showed confidence in him and always kept track of him when he left. He’s always someone who really believed in him. Somebody invested in you like that and knows you, that’s a big thing.”

Knicks, Suns Pursued Terry Rozier In Free Agency

The Knicks and Suns made offers to point guard Terry Rozier in free agency, and the former Celtic confirms to Jonathan Abrams of Bleacher Report that he seriously considered the possibility of signing with those teams before ultimately choosing the Hornets. According to Rozier, the involvement of Hornets owner Michael Jordan played a major part in his decision.

“Mike was overseas,” Rozier said. “And I can just picture him probably having a cigar in his mouth and the words he told Mitch [Kupchak], the GM, was like: ‘Get him over here. Do what you need to do to get him over here.’

“I’d be a fool if I was to go anywhere else or turn down that. I look at it as just a team, organization believing in me. Knowing that I want to prove myself in this league and giving me that chance is bigger than anything and [their willingness] to pay me a right amount of money, it was just big and the guy that was behind all that was Michael Jordan. It’s still surreal to me.”

As Abrams explains, a day before free agency opened in June, Rozier was expecting to be a Knick. That account lines up with a June 30 report, which suggested that the Knicks would turn to Rozier, Julius Randle, and Bobby Portis if they missed out on top-tier stars — New York eventually landed Randle and Portis, but not Rozier.

According to Abrams, the Suns offered a “bigger, better” contract than the one the Knicks put on the table, and Rozier was seriously considering accepting Phoenix’s deal even after the Hornets emerged as a viable possibility as part of a sign-and-trade that sent Kemba Walker to Boston. However, Jordan helped seal the deal for Charlotte.

Rozier’s free agency decision likely had a ripple effect on multiple teams and players. Elfrid Payton, who received an $8MM guaranteed salary for 2019/20 from the Knicks, may not have landed that sort of contract if the team had secured Rozier.

Meanwhile, after missing out on Rozier, the Suns shifted their focus to signing Ricky Rubio, who was strongly rumored to be a top target for the Pacers in advance of free agency. If Phoenix had instead landed Rozier, Rubio may have ended up in Indiana, and it’s not clear if the Pacers still would have acquired Malcolm Brogdon from Milwaukee.

The three-year, $56.7MM contract that Rozier received from the Hornets has been widely panned by NBA observers, but the veteran point guard tells Abrams that he has heard the criticism and looks forward to proving it wrong.

“I’d be lying if I told you there’s no pressure,” Rozier said. “But pressure’s part of the game. Pressure is something that I deal with on a daily basis, but I’m always finding ways to get past it. That’s not easy going in, replacing a guard like Kemba. He’s pretty damn good and the franchise’s leading scorer, like that’s crazy. But it’s something I’ve always wanted. I always live by if the opportunity come knocking, you gotta be ready to answer, and this is the opportunity for me, so I was born ready for this, and I’m not looking back.”

Contract Details: Porter, Rozier, Spurs, Kings, Raptors

For the first time in several years, a first-round pick has accepted below the standard maximum of 120% of his rookie scale amount, tweets Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights. According to Siegel, No. 30 overall pick Kevin Porter Jr. will only earn 80% of his rookie scale amount during his first season before getting 120% of that amount in years two through four.

The rookie scale amount this year for the No. 30 pick is $1,613,700, so Porter’s expected salary for his rookie season would have been $1,936,440. Instead, he’ll get just $1,290,960, according to Siegel.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2019 First-Round Picks]

While this is just my speculation, it seems likely that the Cavaliers would have checked in with Porter and his agent before drafting him to see if he’d be okay with that reduced first-year salary, given how rare it is. Porter, the final pick in the first round, will still earn significantly more than the rookie minimum of $898K that many early second-rounder selections will receive, while the Cavs, who are up against the luxury-tax line, will put themselves in better position to avoid potential repeater penalties.

Here are more contract details from around the NBA, all courtesy of Siegel unless otherwise indicated:

  • Terry Rozier‘s three-year, $56.7MM contract with the Hornets has a declining structure (Twitter link). It starts at $19.9MM in 2019/20 before eventually dipping to $17.9MM by 2021/22.
  • The base value of Rudy Gay‘s two-year deal with the Spurs is $28MM, with $2MM in annual bonuses to bring the potential total value up to $32MM (Twitter link). DeMarre Carroll‘s deal, meanwhile, only has a partial guarantee of $1.35MM in the third year (Twitter link). The Spurs tacked on that third season when they pivoted to acquiring Carroll via sign-and-trade rather than signing him outright.
  • Trevor Ariza‘s two-year, $25MM contract with the Kings only has a $1.8MM partial guarantee in year two (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Sacramento’s deal with Dewayne Dedmon has a base value of $40MM over three years, with $300K in annual incentives (Twitter link).
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic provides details on a pair of Raptors contracts, tweeting that Patrick McCaw‘s new two-year deal is worth $8MM, while Matt Thomas‘ three-year, minimum-salary contract is non-guaranteed in year three. Both of those deals will come out of Toronto’s mid-level exception — Stanley Johnson‘s might too, though if the team has plans in mind for the rest of the $4.36MM on its MLE, Johnson could be signed using the bi-annual exception instead, notes Murphy.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Parsons, Hornets, Rozier, Dragic

The Magic have scrapped any notion of rebuilding and are building off of last season’s playoff appearance, Josh Robbins of The Athletic contends. Orlando made $179MM in contractual commitments to re-sign Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross and add forward Al-Farouq Aminu. That approach could backfire because the franchise will have minimal salary-cap flexibility in upcoming summers and little chance to chase top-notch free agents, Robbins continues. It was also a vote of confidence that the young players on the roster will show significant growth, Robbins adds.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Chandler Parsons recently underwent a procedure in Germany to relieve his knee pain, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Parsons had another Regenokine treatment in which a person’s own tissue is collected, processed and then placed back into the body. The Hawks officially acquired the veteran forward from the Grizzlies on Sunday for Solomon Hill and Miles Plumlee.
  • The Hornets are willing to pay the luxury tax in future seasons if they become contenders, GM Mitch Kupchak told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Kupchak indicated he’s currently allowed by majority owner Michael Jordan to spend up to the luxury tax threshold. “If we ever get to the point that we feel we can advance in the playoffs, Michael has made it clear that we will go into the tax,” Kupchak said. However, that seems a long way off after losing franchise player Kemba Walker in free agency.
  • Terry Rozier, Walker’s de facto replacement after the sign-and-trade with Boston was completed, was underrated coming into the NBA, Kupchak said. Rozier was the 16th pick of the 2015 draft but should have gone higher in light of his production with the Celtics, Kupchak said in a quote relayed by the team’s PR staff (Twitter link). “We feel like if he was in the draft this year, Terry Rozier would have been a lottery pick,” Kupchak said.
  • Goran Dragic‘s $19.2MM expiring contract gives the Heat a valuable asset to dangle in a trade to continue their roster makeover, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. They could use it this offseason to acquire another star player such as Russell Westbrook, whom the Heat are reportedly interested in, or at the February trading deadline.

Hornets Acquire Terry Rozier Via Sign-And-Trade

JULY 6: The trade is official, the Hornets announced in a press release. In addition to swapping Walker for Rozier, Charlotte has received a protected 2020 second-round pick and sent a 2020 second-rounder to Boston. The pick going to the Celtics is coming from the Knicks or Nets through the Magic, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “We’re excited to be able to acquire Terry in this sign-and-trade deal,” Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak said. “He is an up-and-coming player who has shown continued improvement in his four NBA seasons, and we believe he can take that next step as a starting point guard in this league.”

JUNE 30: The Hornets are on track to acquire Celtics RFA point guard Terry Rozier via a sign-and-trade deal, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). According to Charania, Rozier will get a three-year, $58MM deal, and it will be fully guaranteed (Twitter link).

Rozier will replace longtime Hornets point guard Kemba Walker in Charlotte’s backcourt, with Walker reportedly set to join the Celtics. The Hornets entered the offseason projected to be an over-the-cap team with no room available to make a bid for Rozier, so working out a sign-and-trade with Boston involving Kemba will allow them to add a quality replacement at the point.

Rozier, 25, had a down year in 2018/19 as he struggled with an inconsistent role coming off the bench behind Irving. However, he flashed serious upside down the stretch in 2017/18, averaging 16.5 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 5.3 RPG in 19 playoff games that spring. The Hornets will be counting on him to recapture that form in Charlotte.

As cap expert Albert Nahmad details (via Twitter), the Hornets, Celtics, and Nets may complete a three-way deal involving a handful of signed-and-traded players, with Kyrie Irving headed to Brooklyn. While such a deal could theoretically work financially, the Nets would need to be incentivized to cooperate and help out two conference rivals.

The Hornets will become hard-capped as a result of acquiring Rozier via a sign-and-trade, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Celtics would also face a hard cap if they land Walker via sign-and-trade. Both teams would be prohibited from spending beyond the $138,928,000 tax apron during the 2019/20 league year.

If they can acquire Walker without using cap room and remain an over-the-cap team, the Celtics could retain Al Horford‘s Bird rights and could technically bring him back. Chris Mannix of SI.com and Keith Smith of RealGM suggest (via Twitter) that Boston is aggressively exploring avenues to make that work, but Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) hears from a source close to Horford that he’s still unlikely to return.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Notes: Durant, Leonard, Rozier, Ntilikina

The Knicks’ hopes of adding two stars in free agency now rely on the reported desire of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard to team up, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York is among the teams with enough cap space to sign both stars, and ESPN reported yesterday that the Knicks and Clippers are the most likely destinations if they do join forces.

Two other potential Knicks targets came off the board Saturday as Kyrie Irving reached an agreement with the Nets and Kemba Walker committed to the Celtics. A source tells Berman that Walker’s family, particularly his mother, wasn’t interested in moving to New York.

That’s not true for Durant, who likes the idea of living in the nation’s largest city, Berman adds. He had his surgery performed in New York and has several ties to the franchise, serving as a mentor to Allonzo Trier and being friends with free agent center DeAndre Jordan and assistant coach Royal Ivey. The Knicks were considered favorites to sign Durant before his Achilles injury in the NBA Finals and are still strongly in the race, according to Berman. However, the additional year and the extra $57MM that the Warriors can offer could still tip the scale in their favor.

There’s more out of New York:

  • If the Knicks can’t land one of the elite free agents, their next targets will be point guard Terry Rozier and power forwards Julius Randle and Bobby Portis, Berman relays in the same story. They also have what Berman calls “mild” interest in a one-year deal with DeMarcus Cousins.
  • Durant isn’t leaning toward any team as free agency begins, his agent, Rich Kleiman, told Steve Serby of The New York Post. “While I’m doing this interview, Kevin is completely undecided in figuring out what he wants to do,” Kleiman said.
  • Whether the Knicks keep Frank Ntilikina or not, he won’t be part of their Summer League team, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The second-year guard, who has been on the trading block, will compete in the FIBA World Cup later this summer with the French team.

Theis Gets QO From Celtics; Rozier’s Expected To Be Withdrawn

5:32pm: Now that the Celtics are on track to sign Walker, the team is expected to withdraw Rozier’s QO and renounce his cap hold, making him an unrestricted free agent, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

2:56pm: The Celtics have extended a qualifying offer to Terry Rozier, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) adds that Boston has also extended a qualifying offer to Daniel Theis.

Rozier’s qualifying offer comes in at roughly $4.29MM and his cap hold will be approximately $9.15MM. Theis’ qualifying offer and cap hold are each approximately $1.82MM. Both players are restricted free agents at the moment.

The team will not need to renounce Theis in order to have max cap room for a player with Kemba Walker‘s experience. Boston will need to renounce Rozier’s rights or make another move if it is going to add Walker or another player in his max tier.

The Celtics will not tender qualifying offers to PJ Dozier, Jonathan Gibson, or R.J. Hunter, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Boston also won’t tender a qualifying offer to Brad Wanamaker, making him an unrestricted free agent, tweets Wojnarowski.

Charania’s Latest: Nets, D-Lo, Durant, Livingston, More

Kyrie Irving remains “fully focused” on a potential deal with the Nets, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says Brooklyn’s goal is to sign the trio of Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan. If they can get Irving but Durant heads elsewhere, the Nets could shift their focus to players like Tobias Harris or Julius Randle, Charania writes.

As for D’Angelo Russell, league sources tell Charania that the expectation is the Nets will either renounce D-Lo’s rights or try to complete a sign-and-trade deal that sends him elsewhere. A sign-and-trade would be complicated, since Brooklyn may prefer to use its cap room on free agents rather than trade pieces in return for Russell.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers is tentatively scheduled to travel to New York this weekend to meet with Kevin Durant and his inner circle, league sources tell Charania. Durant is also expected to talk to the Knicks, Nets, and Clippers, though no formal meetings have been set, says Charania, who adds that there’s a belief that KD has considered the possibility of teaming up with Kawhi Leonard.
  • Shaun Livingston, who originally had a guarantee date of June 30 on his contract, has agreed to push that date back to July 10, reports Charania. Livingston has a partial guarantee of $2MM on his $7.7MM salary, and the Warriors now have more time to decide whether to retain him at that price.
  • With Kemba Walker appearing likely to sign elsewhere, the Hornets are focusing on other point guards like Terry Rozier, sources tell Charania. It’s not clear if Charlotte believes the mid-level would be enough to land Rozier, or if the team would attempt a sign-and-trade.
  • The Sixers remain “fully focused” on trying to re-sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, according to Charania, who notes that rival teams interested in Butler believe the fifth year Philadelphia can offer will be a major factor for the swingman and agent Bernie Lee. If the 76ers don’t offer that fifth year, it’s possible the market for Butler will open up.
  • The Knicks have targeted free agent center Robin Lopez as a potential backup for Mitchell Robinson, league sources tell Charania.
  • The Celtics intend to pursue a big man using their $4.8MM room exception, with Enes Kanter and Kevon Looney among their targets, per Charania.

Knicks, Terry Rozier Have Mutual Interest

The Knicks and Terry Rozier have mutual interest in a short-term deal, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Sources tell Berman that Rozier would be open to a one- or two-year contract.

New York’s interest has increased since the reports of the CelticsKemba Walker connection surfaced. If Walker commits to Boston, the New England franchise would likely have to renounce Rozier, making him an unrestricted free agent. Steve Mills and the Knicks’ front office wouldn’t want to tie up cap space for several days while they wait to see if the Celtics match a Rozier offer sheet, so their interest would likely hinge on him becoming unrestricted, as Berman details.

[RELATED: Celtics emerge as frontrunner for Kemba Walker]

“After Kyrie and Kemba, I think Rozier is next up,’’ a source close to the situation tells Berman. “I think he’d be good with Kevin Knox and R.J. [Barrett].”

The Celtics have yet to present a qualifying offer to Rozier. If they get a sense that a top free agent point guard is coming to Boston, they may allow him to be an unrestricted free agent, either by withdrawing the QO early in free agency or not offering it to begin with.

A short-term deal between Rozier and the Knicks would allow the point guard to try to improve his stock and position himself for a max deal in the future, Berman writes. For the Knicks, it would reduce the risk associated with handing big money to unproven commodity.

Rozier’s role in Boston was primarily off the bench and one scout told Berman that Rozier didn’t handle that role well, consistently pushing for more minutes. Another source told Berman that Rozier’s underwhelming season was due to toxic locker room chemistry.

If the Knicks were to sign Rozier, they’d plan on making him their starter at the point guard position. The team remains in the hunt for Durant and if they land the former MVP, he’d likely have the opportunity to have input on other signings, including a Rozier addition.

Celtics To Guarantee Semi Ojeleye’s 2019/20 Salary

The Celtics intend to keep forward Semi Ojeleye on their roster through July 1, guaranteeing his salary for the 2019/20 season, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Ojeleye is on a minimum-salary deal, so he’ll earn $1,618,520 next season.

Even as the Celtics’ roster appears set to undergo some unexpected changes this summer, Ojeleye never appeared to be a candidate to be released before his guarantee date. The 24-year-old appeared in 56 games for Boston last season, averaging 3.3 PPG and 1.5 RPG.

With Al Horford, Aron Baynes, and Marcus Morris all potentially on the way out, Ojeleye could be in line for a larger role in the Celtics’ frontcourt next season.

Retaining Ojeleye won’t impact the Celtics’ ability to offer a maximum-salary contract to Kemba Walker. The team projects to have up to about $34MM in space, even after accounting for Ojeleye.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • A source close to Al Horford insists that no final decision has been made about his future, but his time in Boston is over, Himmelsbach confirms. Horford is tentatively expected to hold free agent meetings in Atlanta next week when free agency begins, a source tells Sam Amick of The Athletic.
  • The Celtics have yet to tender a qualifying offer to Terry Rozier, and figure to take that decision down to the wire, Himmelsbach writes. I’d expect Boston to issue a QO to Rozier just in case, but that offer could be renounced early in free agency if the team reaches a deal with Kemba Walker or another big-name free agent.
  • A league source tells Himmelsbach that D’Angelo Russell is a player who would interest the Celtics. Presumably, he’d be a backup plan if Boston can’t secure an agreement with Walker.
  • There have been no directives from team ownership about what direction the Celtics should take this summer, according to Himmelsbach, who adds that the club won’t make any moves based on additions or subtractions of other Eastern Conference rivals.