As of this writing, the Orlando Magic have lost six straight games and are among the worst teams in the NBA this season. They now sit dead last in the Eastern Conference. The reality is that Orlando has a very young team that is still looking for its identity. They are also trying to find their legs. Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Wendell Carter, Jr. are surely the cornerstones of this team. Though they seem to have a bright future, this team won’t make the playoffs in 2023. Still, it might make sense for them to improve their roster in the hopes that they would be in a strong spot during the 2023 offseason.
Here we will look at the one Orlando Magic player who must be part of a deal before the 2022-23 season trade deadline.
We expect the Orlando Magic to be active sellers with veteran guard Terrence Ross on the trading block. It should not come as a shock if Orlando deals him away before the 2023 NBA trade deadline in February.
Recall that after last season, Ross voiced interest in a trade. He said that the Magic front office was aware that he wanted to join a team in a better position to contend. An offseason deal never materialized, of course. However, we fully expect that the Magic will find trade partners for Ross in the coming months as Orlando continues to bring up the rear in its division and conference.
Keep in mind that Ross was actually a starter early this season before he was demoted to the bench. Take note that with so many young players pushing for playing time in Orlando, Ross’ tenure with the Magic will likely come to an end sooner rather than later.
The Magic are 5-14 with no signs of getting better.
Terrence Ross is likely to get dealt before the NBA trade deadline.
Check the link in our bio to see what the ideal landing spots for Ross would be! pic.twitter.com/e0gDR9uMQV
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Right now, Ross has appeared in 19 games for Orlando. He is averaging 9.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.7 triples per game, mostly coming off the bench. The 31-year-old is also shooting 42.2 percent from the field, 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 69.2 percent from the line.
Numbers-wise, Ross has established himself as a fairly solid role player over the course of 11 NBA seasons. Recall that his career began as a first-round pick of the Toronto Raptors in 2012. They moved him to the Magic in 2017, where he has spent the last five years. Ross can surely put the ball in the hoop, but he doesn’t affect many other areas of the game.
One chink in his armor has been his defense. In fact, according to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR metric, Ross earned a minus-3.4 on the defensive end last season. That was much below his previous year’s rating and effectively canceled out whatever offensive effectiveness he’d had.
That was strange because Ross has never played that poorly defensively in previous seasons. Maybe his state of play is strongly tied to Orlando’s issues and overall struggles. We’ll have to see if he performs better once Orlando trades him, and he lands on a stronger squad.
Having said that, Ross does potentially offer a lot of versatility, especially on offense. Because of his length and quickness, the 6’7, 206-pound forward can play numerous positions. He also has experience as both a starter and a backup.
One team that has been linked to him in a potential transaction has been the Los Angeles Lakers. In particular, we could see Ross traded to the Lakers for Russell Westbrook.
If that happens, Ross would be a low-risk addition to the Lakers. Recall that this team is in desperate need of a spark after an 8-12 start to the season. He would provide a scoring boost off the bench at the very least. There’s also a legitimate chance he could provide even more value if his defense returns to normal values.
Remember as well that the Lakers are among the NBA’s worst teams in terms of three-pointers made per game (9.9) and three-point shooting percentage (32.4 percent). A reliable outside shooter like Ross could really help them address that aspect of their troubles. He can really fill a key wing depth role if he does arrive in Los Angeles.
Aside from the Lakers, Orlando could also look to reunite Ross with the team that drafted him north of the border.
A reunion with the Raptors would not only be a nice full-circle story arc for Ross. It would also offer a spark for an offense that has been slow so far this season, going 11-10.
Remember that as of this writing, the Raptors are ranked 19th in points per game (110.7), 24th in three-pointers made (10.9), and 25th in three-point shooting (33.1 percent). The thing is, when Fred VanVleet is not on the floor for Toronto, their outside shooting really dips. Ross is a potentially inexpensive addition who could help address that.
This could make Ross a really meaningful addition to the Raptors’ backcourt corps, as well as an opportunity for him to write a new chapter in his career.