The Celtics’ impending agreement with the All-Star point guard Kemba Walker means that Terry Rozier’s time in Boston has almost certainly come to an end. According to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, Rozier’s next destination will be the Charlotte Hornets via a sign-and-trade deal. The three-year contract is reportedly worth $58 million.
The Celtics on Saturday tendered a qualifying offer to Rozier, making him a restricted free agent. In order to sign Walker to a four-year, $141 million max contract, they will need to rescind Rozier’s qualifying offer, but according to a league source on Sunday morning, Boston had yet to do that.
Sources: Boston's showing interest in a 3-team sign-and-trade w/ Kyrie Irving (Nets), Kemba Walker (Celtics) and Terry Rozier (Hornets). Boston wants to create a full MLE and would likely need to surrender at least a first-round pick to Nets. So far, talks are exploratory.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report Sunday afternoon that the Celtics could be exploring a complicated three-team sign-and-trade with the Nets and Hornets involving both Kyrie Irving and Rozier. Basically, the Celtics would sign Irving to a four-year max deal and trade him to Brooklyn, widely expected to be his intended destination where he’s expected to be joined by Kevin Durant. Then the Celtics would sign Rozier and trade him to the Charlotte. And the Hornets would sign Walker and trade him to the Celtics on a four-year max deal.
The Hornets do not have the salary cap space needed to sign Rozier, so they would benefit by being able to acquire him in this fashion instead. By signing Irving first, the Celtics would be operating as an over-the-cap team, which would mean that they do not need to renounce their other free agents like Horford and Marcus Morris in order to bring in Walker, and they would then unlock the full $9.2 million mid-level exception to use on other free agents rather than the $4.7 million room exception.
There would be no obvious benefit for the Nets, however, so they would need to be enticed, most likely in the form of draft-pick compensation from the Celtics.
Last season, Rozier averaged 9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as Kyrie Irving’s backup. During the 2018 playoffs, Rozier averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists, helping guide Boston within one game of the NBA Finals.