Terrence Ross appears ready to move on from rebuilding Orlando Magic

Terrence Ross has made a lot of memories for the Orlando Magic but his time with the team appears set to end this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Terrence Ross has made a lot of memories for the Orlando Magic but his time with the team appears set to end this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

Terrence Ross was noticeably absent for the Orlando Magic in the final weeks of the season. He appeared in just three of the team’s final 11 games and never in consecutive games.

The Magic were focused on other things. They were trying to give opportunities to young players and players at the end of their bench.

Ross only played when the roster numbers — whether because Markelle Fultz was sitting out as part of his rehab plan or injuries depleted the roster — required him to do so. It was a quiet end to a somewhat disappointing season for a veteran who always felt out of place.

Ross was a trooper all season. He knew exactly what this season was and was a good veteran — as much a kid around this young group as anything else. But it was always pretty clear that Ross’ time with the Magic had an expiration date. And a fairly quick one.

The Magic were unable to move Ross at the deadline, but it always felt like a matter of when not if that deal would happen. Ross just did not fit the direction the team was going.

Terrence Ross seemed to indicate that he is ready for a change and that he wants a trade from the Orlando Magic ahead of the final season on his contract.

It seems everyone knows that a deal involving Ross is happening. But perhaps it did not become so real for the extremely popular sixth man for the Magic until he said the words himself.

A deal with the Magic involving Ross is coming. Most likely this offseason. It is a move Ross would welcome as he seemed to make clear in an interview he gave to the Buckets Podcast released Tuesday:

"“I’m 10 years in, time is kind of going against me at this point,” Ross said on the Buckets Podcast. “I don’t want to stay in another rebuild. It’s been great here. I’ve had fun. I’ve had my chance to be a part of something where it was me and a couple of other guys to take it as far as we could. We had some good runs. We had fun. But I think now I’m ready to transition to something else.”"

Ross said he does not anticipate returning to Orlando this season straight out. There is definitely a desire to be part of a winning team, where Ross still feels he can contribute as he enters the back half of his career.

The response as this podcast started making the rounds was generally positive from fans. Nobody blames him for wanting to be part of a winning team while the Magic rebuild.

Ross is extremely popular among fans for his microwave scoring ability off the bench. They certainly understand that in a rebuild veterans are the first casualties. Especially veteran holdovers from before the team tore things down.

Ross will always hold a special place for fans with how he helped turn games during the team’s 2019 playoff run.

As much as the Magic need someone who can soak up defensive attention and play with some gravity, the Magic also want to do right by one of their veterans. That has been a big part of Jeff Weltman’s reputation around the league and the way he has operated since taking over the team.

According to several reports, the Magic did shop Ross at the trade deadline. But they were seeking a first-round pick in return. They were not able to get that.

It is hard to say whether the Magic would be looking to lower their price or looking for something else in return. Orlando still has a bit of leverage here too — Ross has one year left on his contract at $11.5 million.

Adding to things is Ross has been on a decent decline since that breakthrough 2019 season.

He averaged 15.1 points per game with a 53.4-percent effective field goal percentage and 38.3-percent shooting from deep that year. Ross was key during the team’s 22-9 run to make the playoffs, single-handedly changing the momentum of games with his fourth-quarter barrage.

It dropped to 14.7 points per game on a 50.8-percent effective field goal percentage and 35.1-percent from beyond the arc in 2020 as the Magic still reached the playoffs.

Related Story. Orlando Magic's next task: Leveling up. light

As Orlando fell apart thanks to injuries, the defensive attention on Ross kept him from reaching those efficient highs.

He averaged 15.6 points per game in 2021 with a 48.5-percent effective field goal percentage and a 33.7-percent shooting from beyond the arc.

This season was one of the worst of his career. He averaged 10.0 points per game with a 46.7-percent effective field goal percentage and 29.2-percent shooting from beyond the arc. Those shooting numbers were the worst of his career.

That is going to be part of the story for Ross and part of the analysis teams take under consideration when the team puts him on the trade market.

Undoubtedly being on a team with more consistent weapons for defenses to focus on will help give Ross the space and time he needs to be “The Human Torch” more consistently again.

The Magic just could not get him to that level with the roster they have — whether that is because defenses were so focused on him or because the team could not execute offense precisely enough to free him or even that Terrence Ross does not fit the style Jamahl Mosley was trying to implement.

One way or another, it is clear Ross is ready to move on.

At 31 years old, he still has something to contribute at the NBA level. And, as the Magic seemed to make clear as the season wound down, they are focused on other things.

Orlando, as the team does with every trade, is not going to make a deal simply to make a deal.

Jeff Weltman’s responsibility is to the team first and to do what is in the team’s best interest. The Magic are not likely to give him away. They want something of value — whether that is the first-round pick they could not get at the trade deadline or some other player they are interested in.

The Magic’s draft pick determined by the Lottery is the biggest domino to fall for the Magic this offseason. The next big domino might well be Ross and what the Magic acquire when they do move him.

There is a lot to do this offseason for sure. And Ross will be one of them.

Next. Wendell Carter shines in a bigger role. dark

It seems inevitable and necessary now. Ross seems mentally ready for his next challenge. And the Magic should try to do right by their veteran stalwart.