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NBA AM: Terrence Ross Excited for Fresh Start in Orlando

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Terrence Ross Excited for Fresh Start in Orlando

Terrence Ross is excited for a fresh start with the Orlando Magic. The fifth-year forward joined his new team on Wednesday after the Magic acquired him on Tuesday from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Serge Ibaka.

Although the deal between the Magic and Raptors was announced by both teams late Tuesday afternoon, Ross wasn’t able to make his debut with the Magic because the deal wasn’t officially approved by the NBA before Wednesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

He would have been ready if he was cleared in time.

“I came in early, got shots up, went through the plays [and] talked to the coaches,” Ross said. “I was ready. I talked to some of the guys back in Toronto and they were like, ‘Yeah, it’s not going to happen.’ So I was just like, kind of bummed out after that.”

Now, Ross will have to wait until after the All-Star break to make his debut with the Magic. He has played each of his five seasons in the NBA with the Raptors and is enjoying one of his best years to date this season. He was averaging 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 54 games off of the bench for the Raptors.

The idea of leaving the only franchise he has known may be a bit bittersweet for him, but he’s excited for an expanded role with the Magic. Some players may have reacted negatively to a trade from a team that appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals last season to a team in 14th place, but Ross seems to be in good spirits with the move and is embracing his new opportunity.

“I was kind of aware that something could have been happening before the deadline so it wasn’t too shocking,” Ross said. “At the same time, being drafted to a team and playing for one team, it’s a little different, but I’m enjoying the process. It’s a good opportunity. It’s a new fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ross brings elite athleticism to the Magic and also gives head coach Frank Vogel a capable three-point shooting option as well. His athleticism has been on full display since entering the league in 2012 and winning the Slam Dunk Contest in 2013. The Magic are hopeful he can add consistent scoring to the lineup, something they have lacked this season.

“I definitely love shooting the three and I feel like it’s something I can bring to the team and I can help with,” Ross said. “Hopefully, it causes different looks for everybody else and hopefully I can just make a difference.”

He’s very familiar with his new teammates. He faced the Magic twice in a span of five days on January 29 and February 3. Although the Magic won both outings, Ross scored 17 points in the game on January 29 and he scored 12 points on February 3. He combined to shoot 8-of-13 from three-point range in those two contests.

“We have a good team,” Ross said. “We just need to tighten some things up. We have a good core group of guys, talented players, so I just kind of hope we can bring some of that experience I got in Toronto and bring it here, and really just helping wherever I can.”

Ross also played with Magic center Bismack Biyombo last season in Toronto. It should help the transition to the Magic a little bit more having previously played with Biyombo. As Ross was waiting for clearance from the NBA prior to last night’s game, he was catching up with Biyombo in the locker room.

“We have a lot of memories,” Ross said. “He’s always cracking jokes, so it’s good to have someone else on the team that I’ve played with before. All the guys embrace me. It feels good to be here.”

As the NBA begins to turn its attention to this weekend’s All-Star events, the Magic will now have additional time to figure out how they plan to integrate Ross into the lineup. They plan on playing more small ball over the course of the rest of the season, and Ross seems like a good fit for that style.

Like most teams, the Magic welcome the upcoming week off to have a chance to take a break and recharge a bit as they gear up for the rest of the season. For Ross, the time off will allow him to adjust to the move to Orlando.

In addition to moving, Ross also has a trip planned to the Bahamas over the break.

“It’s a lot closer,” Ross joked. “[It’s an] easier trip, especially going from Canada all the way here. It worked out.”

Aaron Gordon Remains the Team’s Best Dunker

As a former Slam Dunk champion, Ross knows a thing or two about throwing down exciting dunks. Even though his dunking resume speaks for itself, he was quick to say Aaron Gordon is the Magic’s best dunker.

“Without a doubt, Aaron,” Ross said. 

Of course, Gordon competed in last year’s dunk contest and finished in second place to Zach LaVine. Many were shocked when Gordon wasn’t voted the winner by the judges after converting on several dunks that hadn’t been seen yet.

I got a title but he should have one too,” Ross said. “If he was in the same dunk contest I was in, he would’ve definitely won. I’d give [best dunker] to Aaron for sure.”

Gordon is scheduled to participate in the Slam Dunk contest again this weekend in New Orleans. He’ll be competing against DeAndre Jordan, Glen Robinson III and Derrick Jones Jr.

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About Cody Taylor

Cody Taylor

Cody Taylor is an NBA writer entering his fourth season with Basketball Insiders. He covers the league out of Orlando and Miami, focusing on the Southeast Division.

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