By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Celtics guard Terry Rozier did his best to get through what was an obviously trying year as a backup to Kyrie Irving.
Rozier’s admitted as much in the past, but repeatedly kept his focus on simply getting through this season and to the summer, when options would present themselves, be it in Boston or elsewhere as a potential restricted free agent. But now that their year is over thanks to Wednesday’s Game 5 loss in Milwaukee, there was no holding back from No. 12 when it came to Boston’s obvious shortcomings in a disappointing 2018-19 season.
“It wasn’t easy on [Brad Stevens] dealing with a lot of guys that want to be great, trying to get theirs,” Rozier, who never totaled more than 11 points in Boston’s nine postseason tilts, said after the loss.
Rozier said this without dropping any names directly, but it feels kinda obvious who he’s talking about; Jayson Tatum wanted to take a massive step forward after a breakout rookie year (and breakout 2018 postseason as Boston’s top threat). Jaylen Brown had some difficulty and obvious frustrations adjusting his largely undefined role throughout the season as a bench option, especially after taking about his desire to win five titles in six years.
In a contract year, Kyrie Irving wanted to prove he was the undeniable leader of the C’s, and Gordon Hayward wanted to show that he was going to return to form after missing all but five minutes of 2017-18. (Like Rozier, Marcus Morris was also in a contract year, but as an unrestricted free agent.)
In essence, the Celtics had a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and a lot of often-bruised egos to massage.
“It was tough, dealing with all the talent we had, different guys wanna be in the limelight, already in the limelight, [expletive] like that,” Rozier continued. “It’s been a lot. I feel like we can all step back. The time is right now, we go on vacation and just relax and reflect on the season and learn from it. It’s nothing you can do about the season now. It’s over with.”
It wasn’t always toxic or negative, of course, but it clearly caused more headaches than everybody would like to admit. And Rozier’s remarks regarding the difficult job Stevens had before him when it came to managing exactly that were probably the first public acknowledgement that the Celtics weren’t all on the same page as a unit.
But Scary Terry wasn’t done, as he jumped into all of this more in-depth when speaking with Yahoo! Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, and it wasn’t pretty.
“Everybody was running around with their heads cut off, like chickens,” Rozier told Goodwill. “Coach was in a tough position, one of the toughest positions, dealing with all these guys with attitudes, all that [expletive]. Guys that’s All-Stars, guys getting paid a lot of money, guys trying to get paid. It’s tough.”
Rozier, who went from being Boston’s starting point guard last postseason to averaging just 6.4 points and 18 minutes per game behind Irving this postseason, also made it known that he felt like he was the ultimate team player in an attempt to make things work.
“I feel like I sacrificed the most, but I’d do it any day for this team,” Rozier said. “A lot of things weren’t fair to me, but it’s not about me. That’s why I don’t bitch and complain.”
So, Rozier definitely had fun this season.
It’s put the Celtics in an incredible awkward spot given Rozier’s aforementioned restricted free agent status, too.
With Irving in complete limbo (it’s legitimately impossible to take anything this man has said in the last nine months seriously), the Celtics could find themselves having to match any Rozier offer sheet thrown their way should Irving indeed leave Boston. That makes sense, as it would allow Rozier to be the start he thinks he should be and get paid all the same.
But when asked if he wanted to remain with the Celtics, Rozier offered a quick “no comment,” by all means indicating that he would seemingly like a fresh start in another jersey. He also talked openly about what he would like out of his next team.
“I’m looking forward to a family, a team that treats me like a family and that’s gonna invest in me all the way,” Rozier said.