Terry Rozier had options this summer.
His remarks following the conclusion of the Celtics’ disappointing 2018-19 NBA season made it all but certain the young guard was on his way out of Boston. The only question was where Rozier would take his talents next.
In a recent column for Bleacher Report, Jonathan Abrams notes Rozier had an offer on the table from New York Knicks, as well as a more lucrative one from the Phoenix Suns. But Rozier ultimately landed with the Hornets, who proceeded to work out a sign-and-trade with the Celtics involving Kemba Walker.
So, why was Rozier inclined to join Charlotte? After all, it must have been tough to pass on the allure of New York and the hefty payday waiting for him in Phoenix. The Hornets ended up handsomely paying the 25-year-old — $58 million over three years — but it was the man calling the shots in Charlotte who served as the difference-maker in Rozier’s free agency.
“Mike (Michael Jordan) was overseas, and I can just picture him probably having a cigar in his mouth and the words he told Mitch (Kupchak), the GM, was like: ‘Get him over here. Do what you need to do to get him over here,'” Rozier told Abrams.
Rozier continued: “I’d be a fool if I was to go anywhere else or turn down that. I look at it as just a team, organization believing in me. Knowing that I want to prove myself in this league and giving me that chance is bigger than anything and (their willingness) to pay me a right amount of money, it was just big, and the guy that was behind all that was Michael Jordan. It’s still surreal to me.”
It’s clear Rozier was growing tired of his bench role with the Celtics over his final two years in Boston. Not only will he be a starter with the Hornets, the franchise also will be turning to him to be one of the leaders in the post-Walker era.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images