The interest in Terry Rozier seems real from the New York Knicks as part of the many free agent dominoes.
The New York Knicks are part of the free agency dominoes continuing to fall by the day, even though the market will not open until 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 30. One of them involves the Boston Celtics point guard situation.
The Knicks were long linked to Kyrie Irving, until the Brooklyn Nets emerged as the frontrunner in May, which never changed throughout June. Returning to Boston was rarely rumored during this time, and a recent ESPN report of how his tenure went shut the door on this marriage continuing.
Irving out the door seemed to allow Terry Rozier‘s return, but his outspoken comments after the season ended went against that notion. Looking for a new destination, the Knicks emerged as an interested party, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
The connection went as far as the Knicks not thinking Rozier sits too far below Irving because of his age, at 25 years old.
On Friday, Berman added the interest between Rozier and New York is mutual, and on a short-term deal, adding to the notion of the Knicks unwilling to give a larger contract to players not named Irving, Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant, with the chance each of them signs elsewhere.
Acquiring Rozier opens a point guard conundrum if the Knicks stay put at the position, let alone how much money they commit to him. It starts with Dennis Smith Jr., who is still age 21. His offensive upside showed early after arriving from the Dallas Mavericks, but a back injury hampered the rest of his season.
Defensive woes hurt Smith’s value, as well. While standing 6-foot-3, his wingspan is as long, which does not project him as a plus player at this end of the floor long-term, even showing through his first two NBA years.
Frank Ntilikina, who remains on the roster despite trade rumors, is the opposite. The lack of offensive output placed him in David Fizdale’s doghouse multiple times, but the defensive proficiency shines through as his only value. Still just age 20, as well, he has time to develop, if the Knicks still consider him a point guard.
That places three young players at this position for 2019-20. Granted, the Knicks can afford to experiment and make changes after a disastrous season, but it will inevitably leave one or two of those players — like Smith and Ntilikina — to fight for playing time, limiting their talent and potential trade value if both are on the roster by opening night.
Rozier could live up to the 2018 postseason hype and earn that starting point guard spot, but that is just as likely as his regular season slash line of 38 percent shooting and 35.4 percent from behind the arc.
Maybe this is a worthwhile gamble for the New York Knicks to take if they are not satisfied with Ntilikina and Smith. Rozier might not be a definitive upgrade, but if the dollars are reasonable, offering an opportunity when this team has struggled to find its answer at point guard might be the call.