Terrence Ross: has he earned a contract extension from Raptors?


The Toronto Raptors’ mercurial swingman, Terrence Ross, can be offered a contract extension, but whatever deal is offered must be consummated by Monday, November 2. There’s ongoing dialogue between TRoss’ agent and the team, but no offer has been made public as of this writing. Should the Raptors offer to extend? If so, for how much?

There’s no point in thinking about money unless we decide whether Terrence should be extended at all, so let’s consider that first. TRoss was the #8 selection of Toronto in the 2012 NBA draft, and was viewed at the time as a reach. Most draft boards had Ross somewhere in the mid-teens. [20-second timeout: 2012 has turned out to be an odd year in the draft. Perhaps Bryan Colangelo should have selected giant centre Andre Drummond, whom Detroit scooped up next. After him, one needs to scroll into the second round to find gems like Draymond Green at #35 and Khris Middleton at #39. The balance of the first round selections are either rotation players (Evan Fournier, Jared Sullinger) or flops to date (Maurice Harkless, Royce White).] Sadly for Raptors fans, the skeptics have been right so far, as Ross has been a puzzle no one has cracked.

Terrence has demonstrated lightning flashes of immense talent, specifically by winning the Slam Dunk contest in 2013, and pouring in 51 points in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in January of 2014. Consistency has been elusive, however, and he’s been dropped from the starting unit twice (once for part of last season, and to begin this one).

His scoring fell off from 2013-14 to last season, which isn’t the career arc you want to see. TRoss has disappointed in the playoffs as well, averaging 5.7 points in his 11 games, with similarly underwhelming secondary stats.

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One need look no further than the Raptors’ two wins this year to understand the dilemma which is Terrence Ross. He scored 5 points against Indiana, and looked hopeless, particularly in the first half. Then he dropped 21 efficient points against Boston, and defended aggressively while staying away from silly fouls.

Sep 28, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward Terrence Ross (31) during the media day at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t have a crystal ball, and have no better idea than you about whether Terrence is ever going to turn the corner into SolidPro Street. However, on balance the Raptors would be wise to sign him up. Even if he struggles through another maddening season, he’s a highly tradeable asset. A player with his enormous athleticism would be catnip for half the coaches in the NBA. Gregg Popovich in San Antonio has rehabilitated any number of castoff players (Danny Green, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner) who are willing passers and sound shooters from deep, and TRoss certainly offers those skills. There are many other veteran coaches who would be happy to try to figure Terrence out; I’m thinking of George Karl (Sacramento), Mike Budenholzer (Atlanta) or Rick Carlisle (Dallas).

Terrence has never shown any signs of being a problem player, i.e., one with locker-room or home issues. He hasn’t squawked about being dropped as a starter, and may actually be better cast as a sixth man.

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What should GM Masai Ujiri offer Ross in an extension? Big men get paid, whereas swingmen, who are more numerous, don’t make as much. Nor does anyone who is still more potential than production. I suggest a 3-year deal, worth $25 million, would get it done. That’s slightly over half what DeMarre Carroll signed up for, and offers TRoss security without damaging the Raptors’ salary cap situation.

If he explodes, tear up the contract and give him a raise. If he doesn’t, let him continue in his role, or move him.