Terrence Ross is in a slump. Maybe it’s more than just that, but whatever it is it saw him moved to the bench so Greivis Vasquez could start because it was better for the team (despite Vasquez’s defensive issues). Maybe the bench will suit Ross better, he had a decent game Tuesday (5-of-10 shooting, moving well off the ball) but he’s got a long way to go to earn coach Dwane Casey’s trust again.
The benching has led to a lot of trade speculation about Ross, particularly up in Toronto. The idea is to pair him with a future first rounder to get some improved interior defense for a playoff run this year.
But that’s all just speculation, teams called to check and it’s not happening, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
But according to league sources, Ross is going nowhere. “Absolutely not,” one rival executive told Sporting News. “They still have a lot of belief in him and there is not much you could do to get him from them.”
The Raptors have been eager to find a way to strengthen their defense, which has been backsliding…. But, according to sources, the Raptors won’t use Ross to make that happen, despite his third-season struggles—which actually date back to last year’s postseason. Casey considered benching Ross then, but did not pull the trigger on the move. Ross averaged just 5.0 points in Toronto’s seven-game, first-round loss to Brooklyn, shooting an abysmal 29.8 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from the 3-point line.
Note that this isn’t Toronto denying they want to move him — of course teams do that — but if other league executives can’t get a foot in the door there is something to it.
A decision day on Ross is coming, but it’s not here yet. While he is eligible for an extension to his rookie contract after this season, it’s hard to imagine the Raptors giving him one unless it is at a very “fair” (read: low) price. It’s unlikely Ross takes that deal. More likely he played next season then becomes a restricted free agent in 2016 and the market sets his value.
That gives the Raptors time to see if they can tap the flashes of potential. It wasn’t just the 51-point game almost exactly a year ago, it was the improved shooting and play after the Rudy Gay trade that gave hope. Then Ross was terrible in the playoff series loss to Brooklyn (he shot 29.8 percent overall, 16 percent from three). His shooting this season regressed from last regular season, he’s still not efficient, and while nobody questions his athleticism his consistency on defense is lacking.
Maybe he can find a role on the bench. The Raptors seem willing to wait and find out.