Darren Hartwell | Yahoo Sports
It appears Tuesday was Terry Rozier’s official airing of grievances on ESPN.
The Boston Celtics point guard went on “Get Up!” in the morning to discuss the challenges of playing with Kyrie Irving, suggesting Irving’s return from offseason knee surgery led to some confusion about the Celtics’ game plan.
Rozier expanded on those challenges a few hours later on ESPN’s First Take, explaining that the bulk of his frustration this season stemmed from taking a back seat to Irving and Gordon Hayward.
“Just obviously in the shadow of some guys,” Rozier said. “The ball was in either Kyrie or Gordon Hayward’s hands most of the time. So, I feel like either Terry Rozier is just in the corner or on the bench. One of those two.”
Rozier’s minutes dipped from 25.9 per game in 2017-18 — when Hayward missed 81 games and Irving missed 22 — to 22.7 per game this season. The 25-year-old also saw his playoff minutes cut in half from the previous postseason, when he assumed the starting point guard role with Irving out.
“I’m out there for a little bit of half of my minutes, so I’m really not being my position,” Rozier said of sharing the backcourt with Irving. “I’m not being Terry Rozier, because I have to adjust to how Kyrie plays. And then when Kyrie comes out, Gordon Hayward comes in and I feel like his usage is super high, so a lot of plays get called for him.”
The numbers tell a slightly different story; Hayward had an 18.2 percent usage rate this season, only a hair ahead of Rozier at 17.9 percent. Rozier also got more touches than Hayward this season, per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.
Evidence aside, Rozier said he felt the Celtics’ coaching staff favored Irving and Hayward over the rest of the roster.
“Them treating Gordon and Kyrie, I wouldn’t say different than everybody else, but I feel like they just treated them like they were just on that level where there were no adjustments that could be made because they are who they are,” Rozier said. “We never figured it out after that.”
Those words certainly sound like a guy who wouldn’t mind a change of scenery. Rozier, who’s a restricted free agent this offseason, was asked point-blank if he would want to say on this Celtics team if Irving, Hayward and the rest of the roster returns in 2019-20.
“Nah, I might have to go,” Rozier said. “I put up with a lot this year. I said what I said after the season. I think we all know I’m not trying to step into that again.”
We do now, Terry.