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Terry Rozier seems all but ready to leave the Celtics this offseason

CelticsWire logo CelticsWire 5/9/2019 Quenton S. Albertie
Terry Rozier holding a basketball: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

He's talked about it throughout the season but Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier has been frustrated in 2018-19, with a lack of opportunity to show his stuff after playing exceptionally well in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. The fourth-year pro averaged just 8.4 field goal attempts in 22.7 minutes per game in the regular season, steep dropoffs from the 14.0 field goal attempts in 36.6 minutes per game he averaged in the team's previous playoff run.

They're even less than the minutes (25.9) and field goal attempts (10.0) that Rozier averaged in the 2017-18 regular season.

Of course, with the return of star guard Kyrie Irving - who missed the entirety of the 2018 NBA Playoffs after having a season-ending surgery on his left knee - there was no way that Rozier would get the type of freedom and opportunity that he received without him that postseason. However, the fact that Rozier got less playing time and shot attempts than he did in the 2017-18 regular season causes some eyebrows to raise, even if veteran forward Gordon Hayward made a slow but successful return to the court.

Ask Rozier and, though he's been the ultimate team player, he believes he's sacrificed more than anyone. He said as much to Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill after Boston fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and even told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan that he's felt stress ahead of restricted free agency, with his lack of play and efficiency threatening to tank his market value.

Rozier would also offer this notable quote to MacMullan:

"I felt like I went from the passenger seat to the trunk," Rozier says, with a wry smile. "Everybody tells you, 'Don't think about the contract, don't think about the money.' I always tell myself, 'I'll get what I deserve one day. Maybe not this day, but one day.'"

It's difficult to argue that he hasn't.

Even with Hayward's return (Hayward averaged 8.8 field goal attempts in 25.9 minutes per game this season), it's curious that he's the one whose numbers suffered rather than another frontcourt player, like veteran forward Marcus Morris. In fact, Morris' numbers from 2017-18 to 2018-19 were eerily similar, with the physical forward averaging 11.3 field goal attempts in 26.8 minutes per game in 2017-18 and 11.3 field goal attempts in 27.9 minutes per game in 2018-18.

For those who would think of Jaylen Brown, who Boston selected with the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Georgia native did lose his starting role to guard Marcus Smart as Celtics head coach Brad Stevens tried to find the right combination in his starting lineup.

However, despite a relatively significant drop in his playing time (from 30.7 minutes to 25.9 minutes per game), his field goal attempts remained steady at 11.5 shots per game in 2017-18 and 10.7 shots per game in 2018-19.

Asked about the Celtics' ability to match any offer he receives this summer as a restricted free agent, the usually candid and talkative Rozier would say "no comment," leading many to believe that he's hoping Boston lets him walk if Irving opts to return.

In terms of his future team, Rozier says he's "looking forward to a family. Someone that greets me like a family and is gonna invest in me all the way." The Celtics could fit that bill but so could the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic, two teams that have long had interest in Rozier.

Free agency officially begins on July 1 but the Celtics have until June 29 to extend a $4.3 million qualifying offer to Rozier. One that he's unlikely to sign.

* All stats gathered from Basketball Reference

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