If you’ve missed parts 1 and 2 of my mini-series on the Celtics upcoming offseason you can find each of those here:
Other than that, we continue on as we now take a look at the restricted free agents for the Celtics. For a refresher, restricted free agents are players who have eclipsed their rookie scale deals and are now on the free agent market. In order to qualify as an RFA the team (in this case the Celtics) must submit a 1-year qualifying offer worth 125% of the player’s previous year salary by June 30th. Then, if another team submits an offer sheet to the RFA in free agency the Celtics can either match and keep the player on that deal, or decide it’s not worth it and move on within 48 hours. The Celtics will have 2 RFAs to deal with this summer, Daniel Theis and Terry Rozier.
Since we have a lot to dive into in regards to Mr. Rozier we’ll get into Daniel Theis first. After missing the last 15 games of last season and the entire 2018 Playoffs with a torn meniscus, Theis was able to stay relatively healthy this year as he played 66 games and appeared in 7 of 9 playoff games.
While his 5.7 ppg and 3.4 rpg aren’t the most gaudy numbers out there, Theis showed some improvements this year, specifically from the outside. After shooting 31% from three last season he was able to up that number to 38.8% in 2018-19 which gave him so much more versatility in the offense. His main skill thus far in the NBA has been as a roll man off the PnR as his soft hands and timely cuts have made him an attractive target. Being able to consistently knock down threes will open up a whole new realm for him as he’ll be able to pop out and stretch the defense. At times it’s been tough for Theis to get positioning due to teams packing it in against him and this should help open things up for him going forward. Defensively he’s always been solid positionally but at times he seems to get bullied by bigger guys and it’s made him somebody teams go at if they have an advantage.
It’s uncertain what the market will be like for Theis but he should see anywhere between 3-5 million per year for 1-2 years. For comparison, the Baynes deal from last year (2 years 10 million), the Alex Len deal (2 years 8.5 million), and the Kyle O’Quinn deal (1 year 4.5 million) are all good barometers to measure what Theis’ next deal may look like. If that is the case, I see the Celtics either signing him outright or matching any sort of offer sheet for the big German. He’s a low risk option and is valuable insurance if Baynes ever does go down for extended periods of time (which he’s shown is indeed possible after this season).
Moving onto somebody who will most likely not be in green next season, we have Terry “Scary Terry Khum T-Ro Tito” Rozier. The guard has been notably disgruntled all season long and he even took the time to do the ole’ ESPN show tour to air out his grievances with literally everybody involved with the Celtics. If you haven’t seen it yet, or just forgot how cringeworthy it was, here you go:
While it’s understandable that after his performance in the 2018 Playoffs Rozier wasn’t content with his 22 minutes per game, I’m not entirely sure as to what he expected. The Celtics have a surplus of guards and it was clear that his role was going to be depleted this season. Terry, love you to death, but can we really complain over having your minutes taken away from you by Kyrie Irving/Gordon Hayward? Even though the Celtics definitely botched the whole Hayward situation from the get-go, it’s hard to see how Terry’s situation would’ve changed in a perfect scenario this season. Apparently he expected something different and having him not buy-in hurt this team in the long run. There were a lot of instances this season where it’d just seem like Terry was chasing stats in a contract year rather than playing Celtic Basketball.
I’d expect Terry to be out the door this off-season and honestly, it’ll be good for him to get a fresh start somewhere where he can be the focus at point guard. Some guys just can’t cram their same production into a bench role and while that isn’t a knock on Terry, it’s the truth. He needs his 30+ minutes per night, and he needs to get going right from tip off in order to make his mark on the game and I’m excited to see him get that opportunity. Don’t be fooled by his down-year this season, Terry Rozier can flat out PLAY. Let’s not ignore his 16.5/5.3/5.7 averages in last year’s postseason and his 14.4/5.9/5.1 averages in 30 career regular season games as a starter. That chip on his shoulder is both a blessing and a curse but it’s what makes him who he is on the basketball court.
It’s tough to gauge what the market will look like for Terry but it feels like he’ll be in the 12-16 million dollar range per year on a 4 year deal. There are a ton of teams out there who need a point guard (Phoenix, Orlando, Detroit, etc.) and the idea of adding a young point guard who already has as much experience on the big stages as Terry does is a quality place to start.
Stay tuned coming up as we dive into unrestricted free agents, the draft, and players the Celtics should target once free agency opens!