Terrence Ross had made it clear that he does not see his future on the Orlando Magic.
The 31-year-old told the Buckets Podcast last month he, “does not want to stay in another rebuild,” which is exactly where the Magic are at this moment in time.
It is not any hard feelings. Ross said he has enjoyed his time in Orlando and enjoyed being part of the team and organization, helping them grow into a playoff team, even if briefly. He even said if he were younger, he would love to see where this team goes.
Ross has been a big player for the team since arriving from the Toronto Raptors back in 2017. Under Steve Clifford, Terrence Ross’ ability on offense was pivotal in the Magic making the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
He was a genuine Sixth Man of the Year candidate under Clifford thanks to his ability to make tough shots on a roster that seriously lacked players capable of creating their own looks.
But, at 31 years old, Ross knows his time to compete and win at a higher level are running short. It is fair for him to look to transition elsewhere.
Terrence Ross has made it clear that he sees his future away from the Orlando Magic. Here’s what the team could look for in a trade.
He clearly feels it is time to move on. And given where the Magic are right now, and with a number one pick in the draft on the way, the team does not need to keep Ross here against his wishes. It would be in Orlando’s interest to try and extract some value from him while he is still under contract.
His trade value is not enormous, but the Magic could get something useful back in a trade.
The Magic also very clearly tried to move him at the trade deadline but could not find what they were looking for then. They will certainly explore those options again in the offseason.
Here are four ways the team could go in a Terrence Ross trade:
Try to move up in the draft
The Orlando Magic finally got some long overdue lottery luck by landing the number one pick in this year’s draft.
President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman, his front office and coach Jamahl Mosley have a tough decision to make with Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. and Paolo Banchero all worthy of being a number one pick.
But the Magic also have other possibilities in this draft.
The team owns the 32nd and 35th picks and has the means to package them together along with additional players to perhaps move up into the middle- to late-first round.
This is where Ross could come in.
While he might not have had his best season, much of that can be put down to the team he was playing on and the focus on youth over veterans. Ross has what it takes to get back on track in more competitive situations on a team that is in need of an extra scoring punch and boost on offense.
Take the Denver Nuggets, for example, who have the 21st pick in the draft. Or the Milwaukee Bucks who have the 24th pick. Could a team with title aspirations like these two be willing to trade out of the first round for a couple of second-rounders and a player?
The Magic could use Ross to acquire more young talent via the draft to complement whoever they take with the number one pick.
Late first-round teams like the Dallas Mavericks or Miami Heat could also be tempted, though the Orlando Magic must be wary of not giving up too much just to move up a few spots.
And they would have to take on a veteran of similar contract value to make a trade work. Orlando has the cap room to spend (Ross has one year left at $12.5 million). But they will need veterans anyway.
Taking on some dead salary may be the cost of doing business to move up in the draft.
Using Ross in this way would also require the Magic to get players back in return to make the trade possible. This is where acquiring another, more suitable vet could come in.
Get another veteran back in return
The Orlando Magic’s focus is clearly on youth right now and developing the exciting prospects on the roster. But the importance of veterans must not be understated.
Orlando needs guys who can provide guidance to the younger players and stability on the court like Gary Harris has done this season.
Whether it is using Ross to move up in the draft and get another veteran back in return, or using Ross straight up in a player swap, trading for someone who can help the younger players could be a massive bonus heading into next season as the team looks to try and improve with a number one pick and both Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner in their second years as NBA players.
That is not to say Ross cannot help the younger guys. But his skill set is ideally suited to a competitive team that is looking to fight for something. The Magic are still way off being able to do that.
Getting back someone nearer the end of their career that is more content being on a team like Orlando and can both push and help the younger guys does make sense.
The trouble is, it is hard to find these types. Players that are willing to take a backward step to provide more of a mentoring role while playing less.
Is someone like a Bojan Bogdanovic, a Danny Green or a Thaddeus Young really going to want to come to Orlando? A more likely possibility could be that the team hones in on its young rebuild by acquiring more younger talent.
Take a chance on a younger player
The NBA is filled with younger players who have potential but might have lost their way a bit, or landed in the wrong scenario and have seen their opportunities limited.
Just look at R.J. Hampton as an example.
He obviously has a long way to go before he can be considered a good NBA player, but he has clear talent that needs developing, something that was not happening during his time in Denver.
The Magic could use Terrence Ross to get back a R.J. Hampton-type player, as they did with Aaron Gordon, to add to the young core of players.
It comes with risk. No team is going to move off a young player who has shown loads of potential unless the trade is truly worth it, meaning the Magic might have to settle for someone with a bit of doubt surrounding them.
Someone like Kevin Knox, for example, who has struggled during his time in the NBA but could get an opportunity to play more in Orlando and improve. Or Aaron Nesmith on the Boston Celtics, who has barely been given a chance and needs minutes to thrive. The Celtics in win-now mode may value a proven veteran over developing a rookie.
These are just a couple of examples of the many younger players out there perhaps in need of a fresh start. It might also be that the Magic can get back some veteran help in a deal of this type in order to make the trade possible.
The other option is for the Magic to try and accelerate their rebuild by acquiring a bigger name…
Use him to make a bigger splash
Landing the number one pick has the potential to hugely accelerate the Orlando Magic’s rebuild. Whether it is Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. or Paolo Banchero, at least one of these guys could turn into a superstar in the very near future. It is up to the Magic now to make the right pick.
No one wants to be stuck in a rebuild for years. Having a superstar in the near future opens up more possibilities for the Magic and makes the team a more attractive prospect for bigger-name players.
Instead of getting back a veteran or a younger player, the Magic could instead package Ross with some of the team’s young talent or draft picks to trade for a better player to pair with the number one pick and other younger players remaining on the roster.
Ben Simmons jumps out as an obvious name but would require a huge shift in strategy from the front office. He would immediately have to become the main focus at the expense of someone like Cole Anthony or Jalen Suggs.
There is obviously a ton of doubt surrounding him given he did not play for all of last season. But having a Ben Simmons, Franz Wagner and whoever the number one pick is as a core could quite quickly propel the Magic back into play-off contention.
Other names like restricted free agent DeAndre Ayton, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and Chartlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward have been in trade rumors of late. All come with concerns, but in the best-case scenario would no doubt make the Magic a better team.
The team also has plenty of cap room to make a splash too. They could look to move Ross to create more room and jump into free agency to chase after big players like Zach LaVine.
In truth, it is probably a bit too early for the Magic to be thinking about that until they know how the number one pick works out but it is definitely something to keep in mind.