Charles Krupa/Associated Press
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Rozier will sign a three-year, $58M contract with the Charlotte Hornets via a sign-and-trade when free agency opens. Charania added all three years will be guaranteed.
This comes after Charania reported in November “at least seven teams have been monitoring Rozier’s status” for a potential trade. He pointed to the Phoenix Suns as one team in particular that had “aggressively pursued” the point guard in the past.
While Boston held onto the 25-year-old during the 2018-19 season, his contract situation loomed heading into the offseason.
Boston selected Rozier with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Louisville, but he was largely overshadowed during the first two years of his career. He became more of a national presence during the 2018 postseason when he made 19 starts in place of the injured Kyrie Irving and established himself as an emotional leader and crowd favorite who didn’t hesitate to take big shots.
He helped lead the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers even though they were playing without Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Rozier averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds during that postseason run.
The Louisville product played just 39 games as a rookie and averaged 1.8 points per night before posting 5.5 points per night in his second season. He took a leap in 2017-18 with 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game behind a career-best 38.1 percent shooting from three-point range but fell back to 9.0 points and 2.9 assists per night this past season after Irving returned to the lineup.
Along with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, he seemed to be part of a young Boston core primed to compete in the Eastern Conference for years to come. However, a disappointing 2018-19 campaign that ended with a five-game exit in the second round may change that reality.
There’s a certain level of irony to the Celtics likely signing Kemba Walker this offseason and the Hornets turning around and signing Rozier. It’s a downgrade for the Hornets, no doubt, but Rozier is a solid player who will alleviate some of the sting Hornets fans are still feeling in the wake of Walker’s departure.
The Hornets have an interesting young core in Rozier, Malik Monk, Miles Bridges and PJ Washington. Once they clear some of the bloated contracts they handed out to mediocre veterans in the coming years, they should at least have a base to build around.
If those young players don’t grow into legitimate pieces, however, the Hornets are facing a long and painful rebuild.