BOSTON (CBS) — Terry Rozier has a lot to say this offseason, and the soon-to-be restricted free agent isn’t holding anything back. That includes his thoughts on Boston’s mercurial star Kyrie Irving.
It’s no secret that Rozier wasn’t happy to be playing behind Irving this season, not after he had a semi-emergence in last year’s playoffs when Irving went down with a knee injury. Appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up!” on Tuesday morning, Rozier shared his thoughts on why it was so difficult to play with the six-time All-Star.
“He’s a great guy. Great leader. You just have to adjust to his style,” said Rozier. “Whatever Kyrie wants done, he’s gonna show it. That’s what he wants done. And you have to adjust to his style of play and how he goes about every game every day.”
Ah, the old “he’s great and all, BUT….” approach. How Kyrie went about every game, every day varied throughout the season, making it difficult to adapt to his various moods. Rozier strongly hinted earlier this season that if Irving was in a good mood, the Celtics would have a good day. If he wasn’t happy, then the Celtics were in trouble.
On Tuesday, Rozier said that Irving’s in-game style often led the Celtics astray from the game plan they had practiced.
“I think guys was getting it, especially toward the end of the season. Like I said, we had come into the game and it’d be a different game plan than what we kind of expected and went through in practice,” explained Rozier.
The Celtics were never able to come together as a team during the season. They showed signs in the posteason of what could have been when they rattled off five straight victories, only to drop four straight to the Milwaukee Bucks in embarrassing fashion.
While head coach Brad Stevens deserves some of the blame for the team’s inability to mesh, it seems like Rozier is placing the majority of it on Irving. Rozier is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, giving Boston the ability to match any offer he receives on the open market. He’s hinted that he would prefer a fresh start elsewhere, but if Irving were to bolt via free agency, Rozier may have a chance to be Boston’s starting point guard next season.
“I’m looking forward to just play ball. I don’t care where I go,” he said, adding that he loves it in Boston. “I expect me to get my chance, whether it’s with the Celtics or anywhere else. I feel like I can be myself and play my game wherever I go.”
In the immediate aftermath of the season ending, it sounded like Rozier had spent his last day in a Celtics uniform. It now sounds like he’d be open to returning to Boston — as long as Kyrie isn’t around.
Buckle up. This is going to be a long and stressful summer, Celtics fans.