Raptors trading for overpriced former first-rounder wouldn’t make sense

Feb 12, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 12, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors will likely be in the market for a scorer at some point in the near future, as the team’s bench still ranks as one of the worst-performing units in the league. Given the direction of the Orlando Magic, Jamahl Mosley’s team might be in the mood to move off some of their veteran names.

The Magic have Terrence Ross on the roster, as the former 2012 first-round pick who played the first five years of his career in Toronto has continued to be one of the few experienced vets littering the Orlando roster. With the Magic struggling once again, a trade might finally be in the works.

This would, in theory, make sense. The Raptors are seemingly in an endless quest to find shooting, and Ross is a known veteran commodity that can help a team that is still young. That doesn’t mean fans should take their No. 31 jerseys out of mothballs just yet.

Bleacher Report linked Ross to Toronto when discussing potential landing spots, but this proposition ignores the fact that the former Washington star is not the same player he once was. When combined with his very high asking price, this is one move Toronto needs to stay far away from.

The Toronto Raptors must avoid Terrence Ross.

Ross is averaging the fewest points per game in a single season since his rookie year. Though his 3-point percentage is well above what he’s put up in the last few years, that isn’t worth adding a 32-year-old who is a net negative on the defensive side of the ball.

Last year, Orlando was asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Ross. While conventional wisdom would suggest that his price may have dropped amid a poor season, a player like him might still be worth a first in this insanely inflated trade market.

Surrendering a pick like that and a veteran player to make the money match up helped the Raptors land Thad Young, but the wily veteran is clearly a much better fit on this roster.

If the Raptors are dead set on making a deal with former Raptors GM Jeff Weltman before the deadline, one player that could make sense is Gary Harris. He’s younger, a better shooter, and not too expensive at $13 million AAV. He might actually be worth a first-rounder somewhere in the 20s.

Ross had his moments in Toronto, but giving up capital for a regressing player that wouldn’t bring the defensive skills that Nick Nurse requires would be quite a puzzling move. If the Magic buy him out, as they did with Khem Birch, perhaps the conversation can switch slightly.

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