Terry Rozier still has love for his former Boston Celtics teammates.
Rozier, who landed with the Charlotte Hornets this past summer after spending his first four seasons with the Celtics, will face Boston in the regular season for the first time Thursday night at the Spectrum Center. Although the 25-year-old is looking to approach the contest like any other game, he admitted hours before tip-off that he hung out with some of his old pals Wednesday night and has been keeping tabs on the C’s from afar.
“I keep up all the time,” Rozier said, according to MassLive.com. “I’ve been there for four years. It’s still a part of me. I just keep up with the guys, make sure everybody’s doing good. Brad (Stevens), all the other coaches and stuff like that. That’s still one of my homes.”
Rozier assumed mostly a bench role with the Celtics, first backing up Isaiah Thomas and then Kyrie Irving. He still flashed intriguing upside during his time with Boston, though, particularly during the 2018 playoffs when Irving was sidelined with an injury.
As such, the Hornets handed Rozier a three-year, $58 million contract over the offseason to replace Kemba Walker, who landed with the Celtics in a sign-and-trade involving the two point guards. And so far, so good, as Rozier is averaging 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game for the 4-3 Hornets.
“It’s a big one for everybody,” Rozier said of Thursday night’s matchup with Boston. “It’s probably our biggest game all year. It’s on TV, we finally got a TV game. But obviously, playing against my old team, treating it like every game though. Obviously want to win, it’s going to be very competitive, but it’s always going to be fun going against old coach, old teammates, just the whole thing playing against the Celtics.”
The Celtics selected Rozier with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. He acknowledged after last season that he wasn’t happy with how the 2018-19 campaign played out, but it doesn’t appear the rocky departure has clouded his memory of the good times he enjoyed in Boston.