The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly one of a number of teams interested in Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier, and I don’t love that idea.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that needs a ton of help when it comes to personnel. They are the worst team in the league right now, and they need to commit to a long-term rebuild from this point forward. Taking that into consideration, I don’t love the thought of them reportedly being interested in Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier as a trade or restricted free agency target. According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, there’s “a developing dilemma in Boston with Terry Rozier,” in relation to Rozier not having a big enough role with star Kyrie Irving on the team.
In the report, (subscription required), Charania notes that “at least seven teams have been monitoring Rozier’s status this season.”
Sam Amico of Amico Hoops took it one step further after mentioning the Phoenix Suns in Charania’s report, highlighting how Cleveland is reportedly one of the teams interested in the Celtics’ talented reserve, who does have ties to the Cleveland area.
“Also among those interested in Rozier: The Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources told Amico Hoops. Rozier is a native of Youngstown and attended high school in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights.”
Now, I won’t deny it: Rozier is a very talented player, and he could start on a number of NBA teams at the point guard position.
He’s averaging 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 22.7 minutes per game this season for the C’s. He’s also shooting 39.4 percent from three-point range, and a few seasons ago, he was not much of a shooter from deep, but last season he shot 38.1 percent from there on 5.0 attempts per game (per Basketball Reference), and he’s trending upward as a scorer in all three levels.
In last year’s postseason run to the Eastern Conference Finals, he averaged 16.5 points (on 53.8 percent true shooting), 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds. He also had an impressive plus-4.5 box plus-minus, per Basketball Reference. Rozier is also a good defender against opposing point guards, but considering the Cavaliers drafted Collin Sexton eighth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, I don’t love the idea of adding Rozier as well.
Sexton has had (and will have) his share of struggles this year, and in the near future, but he has a boatload of potential. With Cleveland not realistically being a contender in the next few years, shelling out a big haul to either acquire Rozier via trade or in free agency next summer (as Rozier is a restricted free agent after this season) does not make sense to me.
Sexton, who is pressing right now (as he’s only shooting 40.7 percent and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of only 2.2-to-2.1, per NBA.com), is a long-term project.
That being said, he’s a player who is only ten games into his professional career, and he’s going to get much, much better when he starts playing more with the starters, which should be the case in the next few months, as the Cavaliers should move veteran point guard George Hill by this season’s trade deadline.
Sexton, although his assist-to-turnover margin isn’t great, is making strides as a passer in pick-and-roll situations, especially, and he’s a similar level of athlete as Rozier, he doesn’t project to be as good of a defender, but Sexton is really fast and he is a better shooter in the mid-range area right now than Rozier was in his first two seasons.
I don’t see the Cavs getting Rozier as a way they’d be helping in Sexton’s development; in fact, would they have to give up Sexton to obtain Rozier, who could potentially just be a rental for the rest of this season?
That doesn’t seem smart to me, as they would have to pay him big money in the summer, if he stayed anyhow, as Cleveland would have to match a restricted free agent offer sheet.
Even if they did just sign Rozier in free agency and kept Sexton on the team, I don’t think it makes sense to have those two as your primary point guards. Sexton and Jordan Clarkson (even if he would still be around from a financial standpoint) don’t mesh on the floor in Cleveland’s second unit, and I don’t see how they would in the future, given how both need the ball and are score-first players.
A Rozier-Sexton pairing wouldn’t work, either, considering they are 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2, respectively, and both would get exposed in pick-and-roll defense often, and that’s not even noting how little the Cavaliers can protect the rim.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquiring Terry Rozier would bring initial fireworks, sure, but is it a smart long-term move that would help developing their young pieces such as Sexton and Cedi Osman?
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I don’t think so, considering Rozier and Sexton wouldn’t be able to be on the floor at the same time, and Cleveland would likely be handicapped financially, given how they already have a bunch of salary tied to Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. in the coming years.