It's been an interesting 12 months for Terry Rozier, to say the least.
The Boston Celtics guard appeared ready to take the next step in 2018-19 after playing the basketball of his career in the 2017-18 playoffs with Kyrie Irving sidelined. Instead, Rozier took a step back, regressing this season with Irving back in the fold and venting his frustrations after a second-round playoff exit, leaving many to wonder if he has a future in Boston.
But let's revisit that high point in Rozier's career, which apparently was very high: Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported Monday in the wake of Anthony Davis' trade to the Los Angeles Lakers that the market for Rozier would have been "robust" during the 2018 offseason had he been a free agent.
"He was talked about as an $18-20 million per year player," one executive of a team interested in Rozier told Mannix.
That number seems quite lofty now for a player who will demand just a $4.2 million qualifying offer this summer in restricted free agency. Rozier averaged just 9.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game on 38.7 percent shooting this season as a backup point guard, and Mannix reports the Celtics were "caught off guard" by his critical comments about the team in May.
The 25-year-old has thrived as a starter, though -- he's averaged 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists over 30 career starts -- and seems confident he can replicate that success if given the same chance, which perhaps explains why he rejected a contract extension reportedly worth $12 million per year last October.
If Kyrie Irving departs in free agency (which is looking more likely by the minute), the Celtics could re-sign Rozier as their starting point guard while trying to rekindle the magic of that 2018 postseason run to the Eastern Conference Finals.
It seems unlikely Rozier would command $18-20 million per year after the season he just had, but it's possible a new deal could fall between that number and the $12 million he rejected last fall.
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