Knicks would be viable fit if Terry Rozier goes on trading block
If Celtics point guard Terry Rozier ever goes on the trading block, expect the Knicks to be one of the teams with interest.
According to a report by The Athletic, seven teams are “monitoring’’ Rozier’s situation because of a perceived view he’s unhappy going back to the bench with Kyrie Irving healthy. Rozier was a standout in leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season after Irving went down with a left knee injury. Rozier is averaging 7.5 points in 22 minutes per game, his playing time down from the 33 minutes per game he logged after Irving was injured last season.
The report stated Celtics general manager Danny Ainge isn’t interested in trading Rozier now and still wants to re-sign him as a free agent. It also stated the Suns as the team most interested.
According to an NBA source, at last season’s trade deadline, the Knicks “were shopping for what they called their own young Terry Rozier.’’
Knicks GM Scott Perry went after Elfrid Payton, but wouldn’t give up Frank Ntilikina, and had to settle for Emmanuel Mudiay.
Rozier is 24 and would seem even a better age fit than Irving, who already has stated his intentions to re-sign with Boston. The other free-agent point guard option would be New Yorker Kemba Walker of the Hornets, who is 28.
Rozier denied Thursday he’s unhappy with his situation.
“If you don’t know me, then you probably think I’d say something like that,’’ Rozier told the Boston Herald. “I woke up to the news just like you woke up to the news. I don’t know where it came from, but like I said, I’m happy to be in this position where I’m at, to be playing on a team that’s mentioned to have a chance to be in the championship, so I’m not really worried what’s being said.”
When asked about the speculation seven teams could have interest in him, Rozier said, “That’s how it should be.’’
The Knicks are trying to figure out their point-guard carousel of three young lottery picks. As it stands, the 20-year-old Ntilikina, showing some progress as a offensive attacker, has earned the starting job, though he likely would have to be moved to get Rozier. Mudiay has emerged as Ntilikina’s backup after four solid outings and Burke received his first DNP since January on Wednesday in Atlanta.
The Knicks have other young pawns who have increased their stock, including 2014 lottery pick Noah Vonleh and 2017 second-rounder Damyean Dotson. Knicks president Steve Mills was adamant about not giving up young pawns for veteran Jimmy Butler, who will be an unrestricted free agent, but Rozier still is an established rising prospect. The Celtics can match any offer to Rozier this summer because he’s restricted.
Mudiay is rising up after finding his 3-point shot in Atlanta, making all three of them and scoring 11 points. He has battled ankle injuries throughout his career and missed more than two weeks to start the season.
Asked what he has done to reach Mudiay, Knicks coach David Fizdale said: “Confidence. All of them. Not Trey as much, but Emmanuel, and Frank. All of them were lacking the confidence. I really just tried to attack what created that lack of confidence and how do we get you back to a level where you feel like we believe in you and we value you for who you are.”
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