Terry Rozier has a new home in Charlotte, though he had other options leading up to his decision to join the Hornets. Rozier told Jonathan Abrams of Bleacher Report that on the eve of free agency, he thought he was going to New York. Then, the Suns then came in an offered him a more lucrative deal before the Hornets swooped in and landed the point guard on a three-year, $56.7 million contract.
The signing was backed by owner Michael Jordan with the legend telling general manager Mitch Kupchak to “do what you need to do to get [Rozier] over here” prior to the start of free agency, as the point guard told Abrams.
“I’d be a fool if I was to go anywhere else or turn down that,” Rozier said. “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.”
The signing had a ripple effect in free agency, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors detailed. The Knicks, fresh off of being turned down by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, saw their backup plan at the point guard slip from their grasps. New York then shifted gears, offering Elfrid Payton a contract with annual values of $8 million.
The Suns shifted their attention to Ricky Rubio, who had been reported as signing with the Pacers. Phoenix was able to land the point guard, which left Indy with a void. They ended up swinging a deal for Malcolm Brogdon and while its possible that Indiana would have liked to pair the two guards in the backcourt, it seems more plausible that the Brogdon sign-and-trade was conjured as a result of missing out on Rubio. Indiana was able to use its remaining cap space on a backcourt partner for Brogdon by signing Jeremy Lamb away from Charlotte.
Critics have called Charlotte’s signing of Rozier an overpay; others say they simply don’t understand the Hornets’ motives. Rozier is embracing the scrutiny.
“I’m going to work hard and be a competitor, and I know a lot of people are going to fall in love with me,” Rozier said. “… I basically just got to make a name for myself again, and that’s fine. That’s how I want it. That’s how it should be.”
Like many free agents, Rozier’s decision caused other dominoes to fall but the point guard is viewing his move to Charlotte as an opportunity to prove he’s the type of player that franchises should start angling for when he hits the free agent market again in the future.
“I work my butt off because that’s all I know,” Rozier said. “I want to break the bank. I want the best deal I can possibly get after this, so it ain’t about the money. I feel it’s always going to be there. I feel like I’m a guy that deserves a lot, and I’m gonna get everything I deserve, but I’ve been in the league for four years and for me to actually get a starting job, I don’t even know what to say. I’m more excited that I can really just show my talent every night. I can show my talent, show what I’m about. To me, that’s what’s going to bring anything I want. Me just having my opportunity to go out there and show the world who Terry Rozier really is.”