Terry Rozier spent the first two seasons of his NBA career serving as the Boston Celtics backup point guard. During those times, Rozier was only given the opportunity to enter the court during garbage time or when Isaiah Thomas needed to rest. However, everything started to change in the 2017-18 NBA season, especially when Kyrie Irving went down with a season-ending injury.
In the absence of Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier managed to step up and prove that he’s ready for a bigger role. Despite not having Irving and Gordon Hayward, Rozier and other Celtics’ young players led the team to the Eastern Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 16 games he played as a starter, Rozier established an impressive performance, averaging 15.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.2 steals on 38.1 percent shooting from the field and 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.
As of now, there is no doubt that the future is bright for Terry Rozier. As much as the Celtics want to keep him long-term, they will be needing to make a tough decision on Rozier in the summer of 2019 when he becomes a restricted free agent. According to Celtics Wire, Rozier could demand a contract in the range of $15-20 million per year next offseason.
“Barring an unforeseen leap in development, Rozier’s price tag on the restricted market is likely to fall somewhere between $10 million – $18 million per year. If he views himself as a starter, he could be looking for $15 million – $20 million per year. That kind of salary will take Boston deep into the luxury tax, but the Celtics should pony up and keep Rozier if they think their championship window is presently open. They’re going to have to foot a large bill eventually, and Rozier is a very talented back up point guard, who can function as insurance if Irving ever goes down with an injury.”
— Simon Hannig (@S_Hannig) August 6, 2018
Terry Rozier has undeniably played a major role in the Celtics’ success last season, but as of now, it remains questionable if they are willing to be buried deep in the luxury tax hell just to bring him back. Before negotiating a new contract with Rozier, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge is expected to prioritize re-signing Kyrie Irving, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Luckily for Rozier, even if the Celtics hesitate to give his demand, several NBA teams are expected to have a huge salary cap space in 2019 offseason. Being on a team where he will be guaranteed a starting role will speed up Rozier’s development to becoming a superstar in the league.