Terry Rozier had drawn interest from a few teams in NBA free agency, but once the Charlotte Hornets' offer came in, the Boston Celtics point guard had no choice but to take his talents to Michael Jordan's franchise.
Jonathan Abrams of Bleacher Report wrote in a story published Wednesday that Rozier, early in the free agent process, envisioned himself signing with the New York Knicks or Phoenix Suns. The Hornets entered the fray with a three-year contract offer worth $58 million. At that point, Rozier knew what he had to do.
"I'd be a fool if I was to go anywhere else or turn down that," Rozier told Abrams. "I look at it as just a team, organization believing in me. Knowing that I want to prove myself in this league and giving me that chance is bigger than anything and (their willingness) to pay me a right amount of money, it was just big and the guy that was behind all that was Michael Jordan. It's still surreal to me."
Rozier finally will get a chance to be the undisputed starting point guard for an NBA team. He primarily was a backup in Boston behind Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving over the last four seasons. Rozier showed in the 2018 NBA playoffs that he could thrive in a starting role, and with star point guard Kemba Walker taking his talents from Charlotte to Boston in free agency, Rozier now has the opportunity he's craved for years.
"I'd be lying if I told you there's no pressure," Rozier said, via Abrams. "But pressure's part of the game. Pressure is something that I deal with on a daily basis, but I'm always finding ways to get past it. That's not easy going in, replacing a guard like Kemba. He's pretty damn good and the franchise's leading scorer, like that's crazy. But it's something I've always wanted. I always live by if the opportunity come knocking, you gotta be ready to answer, and this is the opportunity for me, so I was born ready for this, and I'm not looking back."
The Hornets have done a terrible job constructing their roster over the last decade. The team is spending a lot of money but isn't good enough to contend for a playoff spot or be bad enough to have a strong chance at winning the draft lottery -- basically, the worst spot to be in.
They do have a few young, talented players with a intriguing of potential. Recent first-round picks Malik Monk (2017) and Miles Bridges (2018) have failed to meet expectations early in their careers, but each player has shown flashes of impressive play. Rozier, despite being just 25 years old, is one of the few veterans on the roster with any real playoff experience. The next few years will test Rozier's ability to be the leader of a franchise, and there's little doubt in the comments he's made since joining the Hornets that he's ready and excited for the challenge.
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Terry Rozier reflects on joining Hornets: 'I'd be a fool' to turn that down originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston