In the late hours of Saturday night, ESPN’s Woj reported that the Phoenix Suns were making a successful push for 11-year pro Terrence Ross, one of the first to sign with a contender off the buyout market.
After Suns owner Mat Ishbia and coach Monty Willams joined the pursuit, G Terrence Ross plans to sign with the Phoenix Suns, sources tell ESPN. Ross, finalizing a contract buyout with the Magic, brings his 38% 3-point shooting to Suns' title pursuit. pic.twitter.com/AKTjsrT0dP— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 12, 2023
Based on the reporting, this sounds like another instance where maybe James Jones wasn’t pushing hard enough to make a deal happen before new Suns governor Mat Ishbia stepped in to ensure Ross would end up in Phoenix.
Ross, who turned 32 years old earlier this month, has made a name for himself providing easy offenses off the Toronto and Orlando benches. He found himself in Sixth Man of the Year contention in 2018-19 for the Magic when he averaged 15.1 points (43/38/88 shooting), 3.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists, finishing 5th in the voting.
This season, Ross has averaged the fewest minutes of his Orlando career (22.5 minutes) and is thus averaging the fewest points of his Orlando career (8.0), but is succeeding in the ways Phoenix will need him to now. As David (@theivpointplay) points out, Ross is shooting very well on catch-and-shoot threes (39.5%) and magnificently when they’re wide open (55.6%).
An electric scorer, Ross will join the Suns as one of the better athletes on the roster despite his age, coming up on the 10th anniversary of his dunk contest victory in 2013.
While Devin Booker is the only Phoenix holdover with 50-point games on his resume, Ross is one of three newcomers at the deadline with career-highs starting with a 5 — 51 for Ross, 55 for Kevin Durant, and 53 for T.J. Warren.
Speaking of Durant, he was likely a big draw for Ross and this could end up bearing even more fruit depending on how the buyout market unfolds. When it comes to vetting buyout candidates, one of the first things I’m looking for is playoff experience. Ross checks that box with over 40 playoff games on his resume.
Among the players that Bright Side staffer Trevor Booth listed (and excluding ones that have already decided, like Reggie Jackson, who’s on his way to top-seeded Denver), the next one I have my eye on is Will Barton, who has nearly 30 games of playoff experience himself.
One thing I’m pondering about extra deep during this first big roster transition in recent memory for Phoenix is the culture instilled in the organization of love between teammates. I had a little bit of worry with the twins leaving that the love may dissipate over time, but if Ross’s Twitter history is any indication, he’ll bring that element to the table for sure:
If KD is basketball GOD, then Book is basketball Jesus— Terrence Ross (@TerrenceRoss) June 20, 2021