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The Boston Celtics are 6-4, boast one of the deepest rosters in the NBA and are arguably the favorite to win the Eastern Conference this year. Generally, that’s not a position from which teams trade quality rotation players.
And yet, at least seven teams are reportedly hoping the Celtics will make an exception with regard to backup point guard Terry Rozier. According to The Athletic, those teams are waiting to see if the Celtics opt to trade their 2015 first-round pick:
Quietly, at least seven teams have been monitoring Rozier’s status this season, league sources told The Athletic, waiting to see if the Celtics could begin to field trade calls. The Phoenix Suns have aggressively pursued Rozier, even before firing Ryan McDonough as general manager, league sources said.
Why would the Celtics trade Terry Rozier?
Rozier is only 24 years old and is coming off a breakout NBA playoffs performance in which he helped lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals. He’s clearly a valuable player, but he might be more of a luxury than a necessity for this Celtics team.
The team locked down another of its quality point guard options in Marcus Smart to a four-year, $52 million contract last offseason, and it seems to already have a commitment from starter Kyrie Irving to re-sign next offseason. If he indeed stays with the Celtics, Irving will be eligible to sign a five-year, $188 million then.
With the Celtics in line to have more than $50 AAV tied to two point guards, it likely isn’t going to spend significant money on a third. For now, that surplus is simply a good problem to have and mitigated by Smart’s versatility, but that won’t be true when Rozier’s payday comes.
Rozier is a restricted free agent after this season and figures to command a contract with an average annual value in the neighborhood of $16-20 million, according to The Athletic. If the Celtics don’t want to pay him that money, trading Rozier this season for what value they can get and leaning on their in-house options to fill the void seems like a fairly reasonable course of action.
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