Should the San Antonio Spurs Trade For Terry Rozier?
By Ethan Farina
After leading the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, Terry Rozier is apparently unhappy with his playing time. Should the San Antonio Spurs make a move to acquire the dynamic point guard?
Earlier this week Bill Simmons of The Ringer reported that the Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier was unhappy with his playing time. Word of the situation has spread and other teams have begun to take notice. Simmons highlighted Phoenix and Orlando as potential trade destinations. He also added in another team that may have surprised some people, the San Antonio Spurs.
The teams that make the most sense are Phoenix and Orlando, but neither team should be trading an asset to have a BETTER record this season.
Intriguing possibility: San Antonio.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) November 7, 2018
Rozier’s diminished playing time should as no surprise. After leading the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last year Rozier now has to compete for minutes alongside a healthy Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart. Add in Gordon Hawyard, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, all of whom are capable of running the offense, and you have quite the log jam. Struggling to find minutes for all your great players is a problem many franchises would love to have. Boston is now in a situation where they must either move Rozier or potentially lose him this summer when he is a restricted free agent.
San Antonio doesn’t typically make big mid-season moves but this summer showed us that everybody is available and anyone can be moved. San Antonio could certainly use Rozier. After losing Dejounte Murray in pre-season the Spurs find themselves short staffed at the point guard position. But what would a trade for Rozier look like?
The Spurs don’t have much in terms of young talent but Boston already has enough of that. What they do have is a veteran guard, one who’s won a championship, and already has a connection to the Boston Celtics. Patty Mills would fit well in Boston. He’s on the Australian national team with Celtics center, and former Spur, Aaron Baynes. His three point shooting could help open up a Celtics offense that has struggled thus far. Their three point percentage has dropped and they haven’t looked at all like the team that started off a blazing 16-2 last year.
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Mills alone isn’t enough to get Rozier in return. San Antonio would also have to include a young player, possibly Derrick White, and draft picks. The Spurs have their own first-round pick in 2019 as well as Toronto’s top-20 protected first-round pick. Both picks would probably have to be included in this deal. Mills’ contract does present a bit of a problem. He’s currently in the second year of a 4-year/$50million dollar deal that will pay him roughly $27 million dollars over the next two years. This trade would likely have to happen after December 15th when players who were signed over the summer can be moved. A third team may need to be involved to make the financials work but a trade centered around Mills, White, and two first-round picks should be more than enough to get Rozier to the Alamo City.
Scary Terry would help form an exciting and dynamic backcourt with DeMar DeRozan. He’d automatically assume the starting point guard role for the remainder of this season. That alone would be enough to elevate the Spurs from the middle of the pack in the Western Conference to the upper tier.
It might not be enough to push them past Golden State but it would get them a lot closer. Rozier has proven that he can handle leading a team in the playoffs and he would undoubtably do so this season.
Next year is when things would really get exciting. It’s hard to say exactly what the pairing of Rozier and Murray would look like. We can estimate based on how the pairings of Rozier and Iriving and Rozier and Smart have done this year. It’s a small sample size, only 224 minutes this season, but the results are promising.
The Smart/Rozier combo is more similar to what Murray/Rozier would look like and that pair is a +3.7 when they share the court. Murray projects to ultimately be a better offensive player than Smart so that number should increase should Rozier end up sharing the ball with Murray.
Rozier, DeRozan, and Murray would automatically form one of the most talented three-headed monsters in the league. Imagine opposing point guards switching off of Rozier only to be enveloped by the 6’10 wingspan of Murray. Imagine Rozier, Murray, and DeRozan in transition. If Murray can develop his three-point shot, things would really open up and the three slashing guards could wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
Negotiating with Danny Ainge is a dangerous prospect in and of itself. Even more so when you’re trying to pry away a player that Ainge has expressed his fondness for. The San Antonio Spurs would have to give up quite a bit.
Even so, Rozier is exactly the type of player that the Spurs could use and if the opportunity to acquire him comes up San Antonio should absolutely take it.