Raptors admit Terrence Ross extension is “betting on the person”

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A lot of heads were shaking when it was announced Raptors backup wing Terrence Ross — they guy the team went out and got DeMarre Carroll to replace in the starting lineup — had reached a three-year, $33 million contract extension with the Raptors.

If there was one word that sums up Ross’ career, it’s inconsistent. The talent is there — remember this guy dropped a 51 point game a couple of years ago — but who just doesn’t bring it night in and night out. So why so much money?

While part of it is a function of the new NBA economics, part of it was they are betting on him taking steps forward, reports Mike Ganter the Toronto Sun.

“What we’re doing is betting on the person,” Raptors vice-president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Tuesday in Dallas following the team’s morning shootaround. “We’re saying all the ingredients are there, the development curve is heading in the right direction and we’re betting that he’s going to continue along that path…

“Any time you have a rookie contract the guys, just by definition, are at a stage in their career where they’re probably yet to realize their potential so you’ve got to find that middle ground between where you think the player will go and where he is now,” Weltman said. “That’s why a lot of extensions don’t get done.

“But, yeah, we like to feel we’ve found some middle ground with Terrence where we’re paying him in the hope that he becomes a great player and we think he has that in him.”

That’s a big bet.

But it’s the economics of the NBA right now, $11 million will be about the going rate for a sixth man in a couple of seasons (when the salary cap will be at $108 million or higher). If the Raptors believe he can be that guy, it’s a fair contract. Plus, they have to spend up to 90 percent of the cap anyway, they have money to throw around.

I’m more in the doubter camp he gets there, but he’s just 24 and improving. Through three games this season, Ross is averaging 12.3 points a game and shooting 46 percent from three. With Carroll taking his starting spot, they are hoping Ross embraces and thrives the role of sixth man. They want someone willing to come in and score. We’ll see. While he’s had a good start to this season he’s been so inconsistent over his career you just wait for the other shoe to drop.

But the Raptors have made their bet.