After the NBA draft lottery, dread seeped into my bones and I predicted the Knicks’ pipe dreams of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Zion Williamson would turn into Bobby Portis, Terry Rozier, and DeMarcus Cousins. The Knicks did strike out in spectacular fashion, although that specific forecast went just 1-of-3. (The mistake was aiming “high” with Cousins.)
But another of those signings came very close to materializing. Rozier, one of this summer’s C-list free agents coming off an iffy season with the Celtics, was planning to take a one-year deal in New York until another team came calling, per Jonathan Abrams’s new profile over at Bleacher Report:
The evening before NBA teams spent more than $3 billion in free-agent contracts in just over 24 hours, Rozier found himself with friends celebrating an impending move to the Knicks. He had decided to bet on himself on a one-year deal. We’re about to turn New York up, his friends cheered. “A night before free agency, I was a Knick,” Rozier said.
He spent much of the night imagining what it would be like to light up Madison Square Garden. He woke up to a call at around 4 a.m. Phoenix had offered a contract. A bigger, better one. We gonna have to take that one, he thought.
Later on, Charlotte came calling, too. Fellow middling 25-year-old point guard Elfrid Payton ended up taking that gig in New York, after Rozier became a Hornet. Fine, it wasn’t just the opportunity not to play for the Knicks; it was also an outrageous sum of money. Sometimes in life, when Michael Jordan offers you $58 million dollars in a move that baffles all peers and observers, you really do gotta have to take that one.