Addition of ex-Celtic Terry Rozier makes Heat a little scarier

Addition of ex-Celtic Terry Rozier makes Heat a little scarier originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Miami Heat just got a bit, um, scarier.

Miami, with its cockroach-like ability to never fade from contention in the Eastern Conference, reportedly acquired Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday in exchange for Kyle Lowry’s bloated contract and a future first-round pick.

A Heat move felt inevitable. And a deal only seemed more imminent when Lowry unfollowed half of his Miami teammates on social media this week while removing the Heat from his bio.

That Miami was able to turn a fading soon-to-be 38-year-old guard into a 30-year-old playmaker having the best scoring season of his career is mildly annoying for East rivals. What’s more, the man affectionately known as Scary Terry proved during his time in Boston that he could thrive on the playoff stage, and he’s an ideal piece to add alongside a core featuring Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Rozier was averaging career-bests this season at 23.2 points and 6.6 assists for the rudderless Hornets. After nearly guiding the Celtics to the NBA Finals alongside a young Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum combo in 2018, Rozier has been a playoff spectator during his five seasons in Charlotte. That’ll change joining a Miami team that is perpetually in the mix and dashed Boston’s quest to return to the NBA Finals last year.

After missing out on the Damian Lillard sweepstakes this summer, this is a solid recovery for the Heat. Rozier inked a four-year, $96 million extension with Charlotte and a $24 million average annual value is only 17 percent of the cap over the lifetime of the deal, which ends after the 2025-26 season.

Miami sits sixth in the Eastern Conference at 24-19, tied with the Pacers, who already swung big by adding Pascal Siakam. While much of the spotlight in the East has been on the top dogs in Boston, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia, the recent upgrades by Miami and Indiana have added a layer of difficulty to everyone's quest to win the conference.

How ironic, too, that Rozier’s Miami debut might come Thursday night when the Celtics visit the Heat in a rematch of the East finals. Miami will be on the second night of a back-to-back and Rozier also could debut Wednesday night when Miami hosts Memphis.

The Heat have lost three in a row but always seem to fly below the radar until the postseason. Adebayo still should be an All-Star and Butler, despite playing just 28 games, will be in the conversation. There’s no shortage of talent, and Rozier adds some additional offensive firepower to a team that can dig in on defense.

Should we just book another Celtics-Heat matchup in the East finals? There’s too much overall talent in the East to suggest that. But it’s undeniable that the Heat have thrust themselves back into the conversation with the addition of Rozier.