Knicks reportedly interested in a Celtics guard not named Kyrie Irving

Nick Friar
May 14, 2019 - 9:47 am

With all the focus on Kyrie Irving heading to the Knicks (or pretty much anywhere that isn’t Boston), it appears New York is taking some precautionary measures in case things don’t go exactly as planned. According to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely, the Knicks have shown interest in Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier.

Assuming they make moves to acquire top-tier talent, going after Morris makes sense. He’s the type of piece a quality team can use as a scoring option off the bench and is good for a hustle play or two when needed. Plus, there were multiple instances throughout 2018-19 where Morris said he’d take a step back — whether take was coming off the bench, losing minutes or something else — for the betterment of the Celtics. Not many guys like that in the NBA.

Rozier is a different story. Obviously, every report indicates the Knicks are looking at Irving first. There’s no way they want both. Even though this is the Knicks we’re talking about, no one is that dumb.

However, Stadium’s Jeff Goodman said Tuesday morning on Mut & Callahan “it’s safer to assume [Irving> goes to New York, especially now after this playoff debacle.” And Goodman isn’t the only one saying Irving is bound for NYC. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently said there’s a 95 percent chance Irving heads to the Knicks.

The only logical explanation is the Knicks aren’t as convinced as everyone else that Irving is a lock for New York. If they’re being responsible, they wouldn’t assume anything when it comes to him, essentially turning Rozier into the Knicks safe, less attractive option at the bar on Saturday night — which Rozier must so happy to know.

At least he’ll finally get the chance to start. Because make no mistake, Scary Terry isn’t coming off the bench for anyone anymore. He pretty much went full-Mad Queen over everything he sacrificed in 2018-19. The second he heard the final buzzer in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Rozier made sure to let everyone know he was going to get his in free agency. Maybe he didn’t go scorched Earth like Khaleesi, but from the sounds of it, he’s not going to settle for anything less than a starting job going forward.

Having said that, if the Knicks acquire him in response to Irving signing elsewhere, there’s a chance Rozier will be joining a team that has next to no chance at a title. Unless Durant intends to go to New York regardless of Irving’s choice. Striking gold in the draft with Zion Williamson would help the situation, too.

In fact, maybe the Knicks are better off with someone other than Irving if they get Williamson in the draft. He didn’t exactly jive with the Celtics young guys this year. Why would it be any different with some kid who’s supposed to be the next big deal in the NBA and would likely overshadow Irving amongst Knicks fans? Seems like a much safer move to go after Rozier as a piece on a Knicks team featuring Williamson.

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