Two days before the Boston Celtics clashed with the Miami Heats for the second time this season, the first being a 119-111 win for the Celtics in their home opener, the Miami Heats struck a deal to land Terry Rozier.
The report is coming from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who adds that the 2027 first-round pick Miami’s sending with Kyle Lowry to the eight-year veteran’s now former team, the Charlotte Hornets, is lottery-protected. It becomes unprotected if it conveys to 2028.
Granted, the Heat’s top players not named Bam Adebayo have all missed time this season, but Rozier’s joining a team in need of more offensive firepower. Miami is 26th in points per game, producing 110.9 per contest.
The 29-year-old guard, known most for his scoring, is averaging 23.2 points, 6.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals this season. He’s shooting 35.8 percent from beyond the arc on 7.7 attempts. That’s in line with his career mark of 36.7 percent on 5.7 shots from three-point range.
Rozier, who preferred to take his talents to South Beach, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, joins a team led by selfless stars in Jimmy Butler and Adebayo, who have no problem sharing the scoring spotlight.
The former is notorious for pacing himself, even through playoff games. And while the latter’s grown in that area by necessity in the 2023-24 campaign, a product of the Heat often playing shorthanded, it’s a safe bet that he will also welcome the help.
Now we’ll see whether everyone passes their physicals and this trade gets finalized in time for the six-foot-one guard from Youngstown, Ohio, to face the franchise that drafted him on Thursday.
While this author anticipates that happening, more importantly for Miami, who’s 24-19 and sixth in the Eastern Conference, after missing out on Damian Lillard over the summer, it has added a player who fits the scoring guard profile it was targeting to help return to the NBA Finals.
And while it’s fair to wonder if the Heat reroute Tyler Herro, head coach Erik Spoelstra minimized the defensive concerns of a backcourt featuring Gabe Vincent and Max Strus in the 2023 playoffs by regularly running a zone defense that often gave the Celtics fits in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rozier and Herro might be a far cry from Derrick White and Jrue Holiday, but if anyone can limit the damage from having them on the floor together on defense, it’s Spoelstra.
Still, Boston, who improved to 34-10 on Monday with a 119-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks, a game where for the 29th time, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown generated at least 30 points, have what’s widely considered the most talented top six in the NBA.
It’s also a more mature Celtics team than the one that started last year’s Eastern Conference Finals down 0-3.
There’s been considerable growth from head coach Joe Mazzulla as well, with second-year bench boss more comfortable and placing more of his imprint on the team.
While the Heat had to make a move, Boston has what it needs to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season.