Terry Rozier

Celtics Notes: Rozier, Thomas, Horford, T. Robinson

Celtics guard Terry Rozier has formed a strong bond with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge even though he has been on the trading block this year, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Rozier shined while Kyrie Irving was sidelined with an injury during last year’s playoffs, but has struggled to fit into a backup role this season. With restricted free agency looming this summer, Rozier seemed like a natural candidate for a deal.

“I know he had some thoughts about trading me this year,” Rozier said. “I respected the business side of it. I don’t ever try to get too much in other people’s jobs. I try to do my job, which is on the court. Like I said, I know he had thoughts, but it didn’t happen.”

Ainge has been a believer in Rozier since drafting him with the 16th pick in 2015 when he was projected as a late first-rounder at best. He resisted trading Rozier because of his potential value in the playoffs, but there’s still no guarantee that the fourth-year guard will remain in Boston beyond this season.

There’s more Celtics news to pass along:

  • Isaiah Thomas can expect a warm reception when he returns to Boston tomorrow night, both from fans and former teammates, relays Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports. Thomas, who has fallen out of the Nuggets’ rotation, may finally get a tribute video. He was injured in his only other trip to the city since being traded and requested that the Celtics not produce a video then. “One of the reasons I came here (to Boston) was to play with him, and one of the things I always admire about Isaiah is his heart,” Al Horford said. “Just leaving it all out there. It didn’t matter if he was hurt or there was something wrong. He’s a guy that loves to compete, that plays hard, that plays to win, and it was just a lot of fun to play with him.”
  • An injury scare for Horford during yesterday’s win over the Hawks showed why the Celtics want to give him some rest before the playoffs, notes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Horford left the game after banging knees with an Atlanta player in the third quarter. He was able to return, but Boston plans to give him three or four games off to ensure his health for the postseason.
  • The Celtics’ G League affiliate in Maine has officially added former NBA forward Thomas Robinson, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, who suggests that Robinson might be considered for Boston’s open roster spot. The Red Claws play four more games before their season ends Saturday.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Atlantic Division:

Terry Rozier, Celtics, 24, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $8.8MM deal in 2015
Rozier has struggled most of the season after his breakout performances in last season’s playoffs, when he averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 5.7 APG while subbing for an injured Kyrie Irving. So why is his stock up? Irving’s commitment to the organization is shaky at best, which makes restricted free agent Rozier a major insurance policy. Rozier would clearly benefit from becoming a starter in Boston or elsewhere. He has averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 5.7 APG the last six games in which Irving missed and he played. He rarely turns the ball over, which makes any coach happy.

Ed Davis, Nets, 29, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $4.45MM deal in 2018
Davis consistently stays in a team’s rotation by knowing his role and his limitations. He’s told to rebound and play defense and he does those well. Davis is averaging a career-high 8.5 RPG while playing pretty much the same minutes he logged for Portland the previous three seasons. He sports a strong 1.7 Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating, according to Basketball-Reference. He’ll continue to find work as a second-unit fixture who doesn’t mind letting his teammates do all the scoring.

Mario Hezonja, Knicks, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $6.5MM deal in 2018
Hezonja had a second chance to shed the label of ‘bust’ by signing with the rebuilding Knicks after three forgettable seasons with Orlando. Perhaps his label should now read ‘colossal bust.’ Hezonja is destined to go down as one of the worst top-five picks in the last two decades. In 46 games, Hezonja has averaged 7.6 PPG on 39.7% shooting and 3.7 RPG while compiling more turnovers than assists. He hasn’t played since mid-February due to a knee injury or coach’s decision. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Croatian native spends the remainder of his career in Europe.

Boban Marjanovic, 76ers, 30, C (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2016
Marjanovic has been sidelined recently by a knee injury. He’s been highly productive and always entertaining when he plays. The 7’3″ center is a throwback to another era when slow-footed giants were more prevalent in the league. Marjanovic is impossible to stop when he gets the ball down low but his lack of mobility make it tough to play him for long stretches. The happy-go-lucky Marjanovic is a fan and locker-room favorite who might get a short-term deal as a third-string backup but it’s doubtful he’ll receive another three-year offer.

Danny Green, Raptors, 31, SG (Up)– Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Green was the ‘other’ starter in the blockbuster Spurs-Raptors trade this offseason. Green isn’t an All-Star talent like Kawhi Leonard or DeMar DeRozan, but he’s a solid NBA starter on one of the top teams in the league. He gained that status in San Antonio and nothing’s changed north of the border. Green has taken two-thirds of his shots from beyond the arc and made 43.3%, his best long-distance average since the 2011/12 season. His Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating has dropped this year but he’s still a plus 1.2. Green’s 3-point shooting alone will guarantee him a nice payday this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Notes: Lineup, Irving, Ojeleye, Rozier

After snapping a four-game losing streak on Friday vs. Washington, the Celtics suffered another home loss on Sunday against the Rockets. The game once again left Boston’s players and coaches grasping for answers, with Kyrie Irving and head coach Brad Stevens both suggesting that the C’s simply have to “play better,” as Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com relays.

While there has been an assumption for much of the season that the Celtics will eventually figure things out and hit their stride, there are only 18 games left in their regular season schedule, and time is running out, writes Bontemps. Some league observers believe Boston needs to shake up its starting five, but Stevens isn’t sure it’s that simple.

“You know, obviously, we’ll look at everything,” Stevens said. “We’ve been looking at everything after every game. Every night when you go to bed, every minute when you wake up, you’re always thinking about that. There’s things that — that are helpful in that, and things that are not helpful. And if it’s the root of your issues, then I think the — then a small tweak can help. I’m not sure that that’s our root [problem].”

Here’s more from out of Boston:

  • Second-year forward Semi Ojeleye, who isn’t even a regular part of the rotation, made an effort to motivate his teammates on Sunday, yelling at them in a third-quarter huddle to “wake the f–k up,” as Jay King of The Athletic details. The Celtics were down by 28 points at the time. “Making or missing shots isn’t going to determine our wins or losses,” Ojeleye said after the game. “It’s really about effort right now. And I was just trying to tell guys to wake up. The look on everybody’s faces was like we already lost the game, and it was the start of the third quarter.”
  • Both King and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer pointed to Marcus Morriscomments from last month about things not being “fun” this season in Boston, suggesting that the team’s demeanor on and off the court continues to line up with that sentiment. King writes that recent opponents have noticed the Celtics’ tension on the court, while O’Connor wonders if the club’s identity this season has become “discontent.”
  • Source around the team tell O’Connor that Irving’s persona has changed since around the start of February, and that he has become more “disengaged and detached from those around the team.” Of course, as O’Connor observes, February 1 was the day that Kyrie was asked again about his upcoming free agency and replied that he doesn’t “owe anybody s–t.”
  • League sources tell O’Connor that the Suns offered a protected first-round pick for Terry Rozier before the season, but Boston wanted an unprotected first-rounder.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Green, Rozier, Rose

The Celtics were handed their second loss in a row on Saturday, dropping a 126-116 game to the Bulls at United Center. Boston failed to stop the avalanche caused by Zach LaVine (42 points) and Lauri Markkanen (35 points), bringing their regular-season road record to 14-15.

“It is what it is,” Kyrie Irving said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “Like I said, I don’t get frustrated with this type of stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs where we can plan for a team and prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games.”

Irving played his part on Saturday, recording 37 points with 10 assists in 40 minutes of action. But the Celtics were dominated by the Bulls 49-32 on the glass, giving Chicago extra opportunities to score and pull away with an impressive home victory.

“It’s basketball, so we’ve got some figuring out to do,” Irving said, according to NBA.com. “Go back, watch film. Obviously, some effort plays where we really could’ve covered for one another. Just execution on both ends of the floor. Being able to give each other space, make basketball plays, read plays, just play the game at a high level. Obviously, these last two games, we haven’t done that at the level we’ve been capable of. We have to continue to do better.”

Boston holds the fifth-best record in the East at 37-23, currently trailing the No. 1 seed Bucks by 8.5 games. They have 22 more games to position themselves for the postseason.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • Raptors guard Danny Green discussed a variety of subjects with HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy, including Toronto’s new additions of Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin, the future of Kawhi Leonard, his post-career plans and more. Green is in his first season with the Raptors after spending the last eight years with San Antonio, which included an NBA championship in 2014.
  • The Celtics‘ up-and-down play has generated some internal competition between Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier, who work together to provide some of the most intimidating point guard play in the NBA. “I’ve been saying it since I joined and played with [Irving]…he’s like a big brother that I want everything that he got,” Rozier said, according to Chris Mannix of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s never hating on him or nothing like that, but it’s just I want everything you got. So, I’m going to challenge him every day and he’s going to challenge me.”
  • Former Knicks guard Derrick Rose showed the team he can still play in the Timberwolves’ 115-104 win in Madison Square Garden on Friday. Rose, who’s has a resurgent season with Minnesota, tallied 20 points and three steals off the bench against the Knicks. “It’s great, it’s always great playing here,” Rose said, as relayed by Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “The fans are great here, and I know it felt good just being back in the league and playing the way I normally play, playing with that aggression.”

O’Connor’s Latest: Gasol, Conley, OKC, Prince, More

As we relayed earlier today, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer hears that the Hornets‘ offer for Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and a protected first-round pick. That would be an underwhelming return for Gasol, but there hasn’t been much league-wide interest in the 34-year-old, O’Connor writes.

The Kings and Pistons were among the teams potentially in the mix for Gasol, according to O’Connor, but Memphis didn’t have any interest in Detroit center Andre Drummond and Sacramento was unwilling to part with promising young wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom the Grizzlies wanted.

The Raptors reportedly explored a potential Gasol deal, initially attempting to come up with an individual trade for one Grizzlies veteran before turning it into a package for both Gasol and Mike Conley, O’Connor writes. However, those talks didn’t advance and league sources tell The Ringer that it’s unlikely Toronto ends up with Gasol or Conley.

Elsewhere on the Conley front, the Jazz continue to make a strong push, with an offer that includes Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and a first-round pick, per O’Connor. The sense around the NBA is that the Grizzlies won’t settle for a modest return for Conley, which is something we heard in relation to the Pistons’ offer earlier today.

O’Connor’s latest piece for The Ringer features several more trade-related tidbits, so we’ll round them up here…

  • The Thunder are believed to be among the teams with interest in Cavaliers guard Alec Burks, league sources tell O’Connor. However, Burks wouldn’t fit into OKC’s $10.88MM trade exception. The Thunder, along with the Sixers and Trail Blazers, have expressed interest in Hawks wing Taurean Prince, O’Connor adds.
  • Following up on his report from last week about the Rockets and Grizzlies discussing a Brandon Knight trade, O’Connor suggests that Marquese Chriss and a first-round pick would also go to Memphis in that proposed deal. Houston would be targeting JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple in the swap, though it remains in the discussion stage for now.
  • The Kings have made calls about veteran forwards Harrison Barnes (Mavericks) and Otto Porter (Wizards) but have found no traction on a Porter deal, writes O’Connor.
  • While DeAndre Jordan looks like an obvious trade candidate, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if the Knicks keep him around as a potential recruiter for Kevin Durant, according to O’Connor, who notes that Durant and Jordan are good friends. Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News wrote about this subject on Tuesday.
  • League sources don’t expect the Celtics to do anything at the deadline with Terry Rozier, since he could serve as potential Kyrie Irving insurance or a sign-and-trade sweetener for Anthony Davis in the offseason, says O’Connor.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers remain open to moving one of their two veteran point guards, Cory Joseph or Darren Collison. Both players are on expiring contracts.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics Trades, Mudiay, Fultz, Noah

The Celtics are unlikely to make a big move prior to this year’s trade deadline, NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh reports in a story relayed by NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell. With Indiana losing Victor Oladipo for the season, the Celtics have less incentive to make a drastic change. They’re hoping Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown bounce back during the second half of the season, then will look to trade for Anthony Davis during the offseason.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will be sidelined at least two weeks with a left shoulder strain, the team’s PR department tweets. Mudiay suffered the injury against Houston on Wednesday and the original prognosis was confirmed by an MRI. Mudiay is averaging 14.7 PPG and 3.9 APG.
  • Markelle Fultz traveled with the Sixers on their current road trip but the second-year guard has not been cleared for basketball activity, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. It’s not anticipated that Fultz will be cleared during the trip and thus he’s limited to physical therapy as he works his way back from thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Joakim Noah takes responsibility for flopping with the Knicks after signing a four-year, $72MM contract, as he told Frank Isola of The Athletic. Noah is playing for the Grizzlies after getting released by New York. “I think these are all life lessons. It was a tough time for me mentally,” he said. “Failing like that on a stage I really wanted to do well on. I take responsibility. It took me a while to digest that.”
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic runs down a wide variety of trade scenarios for the Raptors, though they’re also unlikely to make a big move.

Celtics Notes: Grizzlies’ Pick, Irving, Trade Deadline, Smart

If the Grizzlies commit to rebuilding, the Celtics could wind up with a valuable trade asset, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. The Celtics are owed a future first-round pick from Memphis that will have declining protections over the next three seasons.

The selection, which was acquired in a three-team deal in 2015 that also involved the Pelicans, is top-eight protected this season, top-six protected in 2020 and completely unprotected in 2021. Memphis got off to a 12-5 start this year, but is just 7-23 since November 21 and has fallen to sixth in our latest Reverse Standings.

A report out of Memphis this week indicates that the organization is listening to trade offers involving veteran stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. If the Grizzlies launch a youth movement, the Celtics could end up with an asset similar to the 2018 Nets pick that they sent to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving deal. It could give Boston an edge in the pursuit of Anthony Davis or any other elite player who might become available.

There’s more out of Boston:

  • Several of Irving’s former teammates in Cleveland talked to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com about whether he might go back on his verbal commitment to re-sign with the Celtics this summer and if he might consider teaming up with LeBron James again as a Laker. “Anything is possible,” said Tristan Thompson. “One day he could wake up and think about it. Just the possibility for y’all to think about it. There’s a method to the madness.” However, a league sources tells Vardon that an L.A. reunion is unlikely because Irving hasn’t changed in his desire to be “the man” wherever he plays.
  • Jay King of The Athletic examines the Celtics’ options at the trade deadline and how they could be impacted by free agency. Marcus Morris will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Al Horford and Aron Baynes both have player options and Terry Rozier and Daniel Theis will be restricted. King states that management may check into offers for Rozier and Theis, but believes they will keep both as insurance in case someone gets hurt during the playoffs.
  • King also considers whether the Celtics might try to get underneath the luxury tax this season, considering the sizable payments looming in the future. With the team projected to be about $3MM over the tax line, that would mean sending out Rozier’s contract in a salary dump, which King doesn’t expect to happen.
  • Marcus Smart was fined $35K for charging after the Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry in an altercation in Saturday’s game, the league office announced.

Celtics Notes: Locker Room, Irving, Morris, Rozier

The Celtics‘ disappointing season may have split the locker room between veterans and some of the young players who helped reach the conference finals last year, suggests Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (hat tip to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston). The Eastern Conference favorites heading into the season, the Celtics are in fifth place at 25-17 as some players have been resistant to accepting new roles with the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward from injuries.

“It does seem like there’s a divide in that locker room between the veterans on that team and the younger players on that team,” Mannix said Saturday on the Celtics’ post-game show. “I don’t know how big that divide is, how significant it is, is it fractured. But there does seem to be kind of a chasm that exists between those two sides.”

Boston is coming off a disastrous trip to Florida that included two losses and a pair of incidents that shined a light on the internal conflicts. Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown exchanged words during a time out Thursday in Miami, and Irving was visibly upset after an unsuccessful play at the end of last night’s game in Orlando.

There’s more today from Boston:

  • Irving seemed to take a shot at his younger teammates in post-game comments Saturday, saying the Celtics are lacking the “experience” it takes to compete for a title, relays Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston“You’ve got to appreciate being out there and just competing,” Irving said as part of a long answer on why the team has gone through peaks and valleys. “It doesn’t matter who you’re going against. It matters the type of preparation you have, what you’re going out and trying to accomplish. What’s the big picture? What are we doing here? These are things I don’t think some of my teammates have faced just every single day. It’s not easy to be great.”
  • Morris’ brand of leadership is exactly what the team needs, contends A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. In addition to being the Celtics’ most consistent player throughout the season, Morris has lived up to his reputation for being willing to confront teammates who he believes aren’t giving their best effort. “To be the team we want to be, we have to be open with each other and be able to discuss things that are going on, on the court,” Morris said. “If it leads to a little bumping, pushing and shoving … it’s nothing. You move past that type of stuff and keep going.”
  • Terry Rozier had another bad performance last night, missing all five of his shots in 17 minutes, and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may have missed his best chance to trade him, writes Keith Smith on CelticsBlog. Rozier will be a restricted free agent this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Carroll, Brown, Rozier, Hezonja

The Nets have been surging in recent weeks, and the team’s hot streak has coincided with strong play from DeMarre Carroll, who is finally gaining comfort after returning from ankle surgery on November 9. As Brian Lewis writes for The New York Post, Carroll has been providing stellar and consistent play off the bench, averaging nearly 17 points and 6 rebounds per game in his last five contests, while knocking down 50% of his 3-pointers.

Carroll’s turnaround couldn’t have come at a better time for the Nets, who are missing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert due to injuries.

Coming into the season, Carroll was expected to play a key role for the Nets as a small-ball power forward. Due to his injury and early struggles this season, he lost that role and has had to work to regain it. Now he is a key cog on the Nets’ bench unit, which is one of the best in the league.

There’s more from the Atlantic division:

  • After getting off to a rough start this season, Jaylen Brown has stepped up his play in recent games for the CelticsAs Sherrod Blakely points out for NBC Sports Boston, Brown has finally started to hit shots in recent games and has resembled the player he was last season on a more consistent basis.
  • Speaking of struggling Celtics, Terry Rozier continues to navigate his smaller role now that the team is healthy. As Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald points out, Rozier is struggling with accepting the smaller role for the good of the team versus constricting his career to being a backup point guard.
  • In their recent win over the Lakers, the Knicks received strong contributions from Mario Hezonja. However, as Marc Berman writes for The New York Post, Hezonja and Enes Kanter are two parts of the Knicks’ rotation that have seen their roles decrease significantly in recent weeks as their future with the team is in question.

Dinwiddie Extension Good News For Rozier, Russell?

League executives at last week’s G League Showcase in Las Vegas were “raving” about the Nets‘ deal to lock up Spencer Dinwiddie to a three-year, $34.3MM extension, comparing it to the Clippers‘ three-year, $24MM agreement with Lou Williams, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider-only link).

According to Marks, two teams he spoke to in Vegas had Dinwiddie ranked as the third-best point guard in the 2019 free agent class before he signed his extension, placing him behind only Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. That would have put Dinwiddie ahead of younger players like Terry Rozier (Celtics) and D’Angelo Russell (Nets), both of whom are on track for restricted free agency.

Rozier and Russell should benefit from Dinwiddie’s deal, since it takes one of 2019’s top FA point guards off the board and could create additional competition for their services. According to Marks, league execs in Vegas last week identified the Magic and Suns as probable suitors for Rozier and Russell, though the Celtics and Nets will have the upper hand until an offer sheet is on the table.

Here’s more from Marks:

  • Teams are monitoring Markelle Fultz, not just to keep an eye on his health and future, but also to see how Fultz’s status will impact Sixers teammate T.J. McConnell, according to Marks. McConnell is headed for unrestricted free agency and is unlikely to get an in-season extension if Philadelphia intends to maximize its 2019 cap room. McConnell could command a salary in the $5-7MM range, Marks notes.
  • Teams around the NBA believe there could be a strong group of buyout candidates available later this season. According to Marks, the veteran players that clubs are keeping an eye on include Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Zach Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, Enes Kanter, Kenneth Faried, Jerryd Bayless, Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos, Alec Burks, J.R. Smith, and Jabari Parker. Some of those vets may be traded and some figure to remain with their current teams, but I could definitely see several of them ending up on the buyout market.