Terrence Ross

Injury Notes: Ingram, Vucevic, LeBron, Magic

An MRI has revealed that Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram suffered a left low-ankle sprain during the team’s 108-103 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday, the team has announced via Twitter. Ingram is set to miss Friday night’s contest against the Sixers and is considered day-to-day with the injury beyond that.

Losing Ingram, the club’s second-leading scorer behind All-Star forward Zion Williamson, could be a major blow for New Orleans as the team strives to qualify for the play-in tournament in a crowded Western Conference field. With a 30-36 record, the Pelicans currently sit just two games behind the Spurs for a shot at the play-in tournament in the West this season.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • Bulls All-Star center Nikola Vučević (adductor) was able to fully participate in a team practice today, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Head coach Billy Donovan commented that the sharp-shooting big man, who has missed the club’s last two games, “looked fine.”
  • Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James will miss at least the next two games and potentially more as he grapples with fresh, sharp pain in his sprained ankle, Dave McMenamin told Rachel Nichols and Richard Jefferson on ESPN’s The Jump (Twitter video link). A source informed McMenamin that James is “focusing on the big picture” right now. “Does ‘big picture’ mean two more games missed? I’m not so sure,” McMenamin said. “He is clearly prioritizing using every bit of time he can to… get back for the playoffs.”
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford has indicated that five injured players could miss the rest of the 2020/21 NBA season, tweets Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams and power forward Chuma Okeke are both sidelined with ankle sprains. Wing James Ennis is unavailable with a sore calf. Injury-prone forward Otto Porter Jr., who has played in just 28 games this season for the Magic and Bulls, is struggling with foot pain. Swingman Terrence Ross has been felled by back spasms. “I don’t even know what the time frame [is],” Clifford conceded. “If you look at the schedule now, it’s seven games, I think it’d be 12 days, and I’m not sure even if any of those guys are that close, to be honest with you.”

Magic Rumors: Gordon, Vucevic, Ross, Fournier

As we relayed earlier today, Portland and Minnesota are among the teams interested in Aaron Gordon, but the Magic forward is receiving interest from several other clubs as well.

According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Rockets, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Warriors are all eyeing Gordon. Some lead members of the Pelicans‘ front office are high on Gordon too, per Fischer. And the Pistons have also inquired about him, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Haynes suggests that Gordon would be “open to a change of scenery.”

Gordon has been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time and the Magic’s current front office hasn’t made many major deals in recent years, so some people around the league are skeptical that Orlando will do anything big at next week’s deadline, per Fischer.

“You talk to them and it’s just like, ‘Well, you know, we’re open to this…’ It’s just like talking in circles,” an assistant general manager told Fischer. Another league source added: “They don’t pick up the phone and call.”

However, according to Fischer, the Magic have already seriously explored moving Gordon and are seeking a return of young players and draft picks. Prior to Gordon’s ankle sprain, the Magic and Timberwolves were making progress on a potential deal that would have sent the 25-year-old to Minnesota for a package that included Ricky Rubio and draft capital, sources told Bleacher Report.

Brooklyn also made an offer for Gordon in mid-January before acquiring James Harden, according to Fischer, though the Nets may not have been targeting the Magic forward for themselves. Fischer reports that Houston is especially interested in Gordon and asked teams during the Harden discussions to engage Orlando about the veteran forward. The Rockets may be taking a similar approach in their Victor Oladipo trade talks, Fischer adds.

Here’ more on the Magic:

  • In addition to Gordon, the Magic are believed to be listening to inquiries on Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vucevic, though Vucevic is considered far less likely than the others to be moved. Sources tell Fischer that for Orlando to consider a Vucevic offer, it would need to include at least a starter-caliber player and multiple first-round picks. “It would have to be to a point where (a team) offers what someone hasn’t yet been willing to offer,” one Western Conference executive said.
  • The Celtics are said to have interest in Vucevic, but their overtures haven’t piqued Orlando’s interest, according to Fischer, who says Boston may be focused on Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge for the time being.
  • Some executives believe the Magic could get a late first-round pick for Ross or Fournier, but most believe that a package of multiple second-rounders is more realistic, writes Fischer. “If you know you can get better, I would give up all my seconds (for Fournier). Who cares?” one assistant GM said. “I think he’s a good sixth man, maybe a fifth starter. One night he might give you 20, the next night he’s giving you eight. But he definitely can put that thing in the basket, and you gotta guard him.”
  • Here’s what one Eastern Conference exec had to say about the Magic and their trade candidates, per Fischer: “They should sell. They own their first-round pick. If you can get that pick into the top five, and you’re adding back Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz next season, all of a sudden things could look very different.”

Vucevic, Other Magic Vets Drawing Trade Interest

The Celtics aren’t the only team that has Magic center Nikola Vucevic high on its wish list. The Heat, Spurs, and Hornets have also expressed “significant” interest in the All-Star big man, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

Miami, San Antonio, and Charlotte would all be intriguing landing spots for Vucevic. The Heat presumably envision him playing alongside Bam Adebayo up front; the Spurs have seen LaMarcus Aldridge‘s production decline this season and may view Vucevic as an eventual replacement for the veteran; and the Hornets could use an impact player at the five to complement primary play-makers LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward.

However, O’Connor cautions that front office executives around the NBA are skeptical that the Magic will move Vucevic at this month’s trade deadline, since he still has multiple years left on his contract. After earning $26MM this season, the 30-year-old will make $24MM in 2021/22 and $22MM in ’22/23.

Even if the Magic are open to considering a Vucevic trade, they’d seek a substantial return, according to O’Connor. Shams Charania of The Athletic conveyed a similar sentiment last week, writing that Orlando would want a “massive” package for its All-Star center.

While the Magic seem unlikely to deal Vucevic, there are other solid veterans on their roster whom they could be more open to moving. O’Connor reports that the club is receiving calls on guards Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross, with the Hornets among the clubs inquiring on Fournier, while the Nuggets have asked about Ross.

Aaron Gordon is viewed as a possible trade candidate too, and the Magic have some lower-priced veterans who could appeal to contenders as depth pieces. However, Orlando hasn’t shown much enthusiasm for making major trades in recent years, so it would be a bit of a surprise if the team goes into full-fledged fire-sale mode, despite its record (13-23) and place in the Eastern Conference standings (14th).

MCW, Ross Fined $15K After Arguing With Refs

The NBA has fined Magic guards Michael Carter-Williams and Terrence Ross $15K apiece after altercations with referees in their 115-112 Wednesday home loss to the Hawks, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets.

Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee (via Twitter) shared an official NBA press statement on the penalties. The league listed the charges as “verbal abuse of game officials and failing to leave the court in a timely manner.”

Ross, who scored 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting in the loss, and Carter-Williams, who logged 20 points, six assists and six rebounds, were upset about two late-game referee decisions. Carter-Williams was irked over a foul call that went against him while defending a Trae Young layup attempt with 18 seconds left in regulation.

Carter-Williams was called for hitting Young in the head. Magic head coach Steve Clifford debated the foul in postgame remarks (video link), saying in part, “In my opinion that’s not a foul, particularly at that point in the game. I’ll tell you with 100% certainty there was no contact to the head.” 

On the other end of the floor, Ross was upset over not receiving a foul call in his favor while being guarded by Solomon Hill with eight seconds remaining in regulation.

And-Ones: G League, Trier, Ross, Expansion, 2021 Draft

Many G League hopefuls – including a number of NBA veterans –  are eligible to be selected in the NBAGL’s 2021 draft, which will take place on Monday. But competition for those draft slots figures to be fierce.

Since the majority of NBAGL roster spots are occupied by affiliate players and returning-rights players, teams often don’t make full use of the draft anyway. In a typical year, the G League draft is four rounds and teams are only required to make two selections. As G League expert Adam Johnson points out (in a Twitter thread), this year’s draft will last just three rounds and teams won’t be required to make any picks.

Roster spots will also be at a premium for a couple more reasons — 11 NBA teams’ affiliates aren’t participating in the G League bubble, and rosters won’t be expanded for training camp, as a coronavirus precaution. Johnson suggests he wouldn’t be surprised if only about 20 or so players are selected in Monday’s draft.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Knicks guard Allonzo Trier will be among the players vying to be picked in Monday’s G League draft, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Trier is signing an NBAGL contract.
  • Magic swingman Terrence Ross has signed with Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul for representation, says Charania (Twitter link). Klutch also added Calvin Andrews as a senior agent directing basketball operations, per Charania, who notes that Andrews’ client list includes Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Timberwolves wing Josh Okogie.
  • A high-ranking team executive who spoke to David Aldridge of The Athletic said the NBA is unlikely to seriously consider expansion before the end of the 2021/22 season. However, Aldridge notes that Seattle is at the top of the league’s list. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said this week that she’s “pretty optimistic” about the city’s chances of getting a team in the coming years.
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, draft gurus Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz examine how NBA evaluators are approaching this year’s class, take a closer look at some underperforming Kentucky prospects, and consider how a single-site NCAA tournament will impact NBA scouting.

Southeast Notes: Westbrook, Ross, Magic, Hornets

Russell Westbrook has yet to make his Wizards debut, and it won’t happen on Thursday night vs. Detroit. The team announced today (Twitter link) that Westbrook has been ruled out of tonight’s exhibition game for rest purposes.

As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes, it’s somewhat surprising that the Wizards wouldn’t be more motivated to get Westbrook into an actual game to allow him to establish some chemistry with his new teammates. However, Scott Brooks suggested on Wednesday that the team doesn’t think preseason action is all that necessary for the veteran guard.

“With him being whatever it is, 13 years (in the NBA), an exhibition is not gonna make much a difference for him,” the Wizards head coach said. “… Normally, sometimes you say that you need a couple of games under your belt before you start the season, but with him, he’s probably the exception to that rule. He’s been in the league long enough. He knows what he needs to do to get his rhythm back.”

Like Westbrook, Davis Bertans will sit out Thursday’s preseason contest too, but Bradley Beal is expected to make his 2020/21 debut for the Wizards.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Terrence Ross has missed the Magic‘s first two preseason games due to a hairline fracture in his left big toe, but he sounds just about ready to return. Ross participated in all the contact drills during Wednesday’s practices and head coach Steve Clifford thinks there’s a good chance he’ll play on Thursday, per Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links).
  • Evaluating the Magic‘s November roster changes, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes that the club’s “defining move this offseason was its lack of moves.” With Jonathan Isaac out for the season, Hollinger wonders if the time is right for Orlando to “soft tank” rather than vying for a back-end playoff berth that would lead to another quick postseason exit.
  • The Hornets have lacked depth in recent years, but when the team is fully healthy this season, the likes of LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, Cody Martin, Caleb Martin, and Jalen McDaniels should all be coming off the bench, giving head coach James Borrego some intriguing lineup options, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.

Health Updates: Zion, Ross, Claxton, Warriors

Zion Williamson‘s NBA debut last season was delayed by knee surgery and he dealt with minutes limitations upon returning, but the Pelicans forward said he has “no restrictions” for the 2020/21 season, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Williamson’s comments came shortly after new head coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters that the former No. 1 pick easily passed his conditioning test and had “no limitations” in practice.

“Me and Coach Van Gundy have talked and from what I know now, there are no restrictions,” Williamson said. “None.”

As a rookie, Williamson was often limited to four- or five-minute “bursts” and found himself being subbed out of games at key moments. He’s looking forward to playing for longer stretches and hopes to look more like his old self this season, as Lopez details.

“I want to show that I’m a basketball player. I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do on offense or defense no matter what it is to win. I’m just a competitor,” Williamson said. “When I’m healthy and competing, I’m just a different kind of player. I think that’s the player everyone fell in love with.”

Here are a few more health updates from around the NBA:

  • Having undergone an MRI, Magic swingman Terrence Ross has been diagnosed with a minor, non-displaced hairline fracture in his left big toe, the team announced today in a press release. Ross is continuing to participate in non-contact work during practices. According to the team, his return to full contact will depend on how his toe responds to treatment.
  • After the Nets announced over the weekend that Nicolas Claxton is dealing with right knee tendinopathy, head coach Steve Nash said today that he expects the second-year big man to be out for “weeks,” tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • The two Warriors players who tested positive for the coronavirus aren’t expected to be able to participate in group practices until next week at the earliest, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The identities of those two players are still unknown.

Southeast Notes: Ross, Heat, Monk, Hornets

Magic guard Terrence Ross has recovered from a stomach ailment and is now back with the team for the postseason, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Ross, who left the Orlando campus for medical care last week, described his experience in great detail, explaining what caused the issue in the first place.

“Sometimes your stomach creates too much stomach acid when you eat and it can get into your esophagus,” he said.

Ross finished eating in the team room at roughly 8:30 pm before ordering more food just 90 minutes later, according to Parry. He went to bed around 10:40 and began to experience sharp pains shortly after that.

“I started feeling like … almost like really, really, really intense like heartburn, almost. But then I realized it was more than that,” Ross said. “I didn’t even know what it was at the time but it was debilitating. It hurt. I was hunched over the floor for like an hour in the fetal position because of just whatever I wanted to do, everything that I was doing was just amplified and getting worse. So I called the team doctor and they took it from there.”

The Magic are set to open their first-round playoff series against the Bucks on Tuesday with Ross in the rotation. He has averaged 14.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 27.4 minutes per game off the bench this season, shooting 40% from the field and 35% from downtown.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores whether the Heat are truly ready for the playoffs in his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has opted to change his rotation in Orlando, starting forward Jae Crowder in place of Meyers Leonard in order to play smaller and quicker.
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer examines whether Malik Monk could make a similar leap with the Hornets that Devonte’ Graham did. Charlotte drafted Monk with the No. 11 pick in 2017, with Monk averaging a career-high 10.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest this season.
  • Bonnell also examined a perk the Hornets got from the Orlando restart in a separate story for the Charlotte Observer, securing a 2020 second-round draft pick from the Celtics. Charlotte finished with the tenth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 23-42 this season.

Terrence Ross Returns To NBA Campus

Magic sharpshooter Terrence Ross wasn’t away from the NBA’s campus at Walt Disney World for long. After announcing on Monday that Ross had left to address a medical matter unrelated to COVID-19, the Magic said this morning (via Twitter) that he has returned.

Ross’ medical tests came back negative and he has begun his quarantine period, according to the team. Typically, a player who leaves the NBA’s campus for personal reasons must quarantine for at least four days upon returning. However, the league sent out a memo in July informing teams that players wouldn’t necessarily have to quarantine for that long if they leave the bubble for local medical treatment with league approval.

The Magic previously announced that Ross would be out for Tuesday’s game against Brooklyn, but if we assume his quarantine period will be brief, he could be back in action on Thursday when Orlando faces New Orleans in the team’s final seeding game. Whether or not he plays this week, he definitely should be available for the start of the postseason on August 17.

Although he hasn’t started a game in 2019/20, Ross is the first man off the bench for the Magic, playing 27.4 minutes per contest. He has averaged 14.7 PPG on .403/.351/.853 shooting in 69 games this season, though those numbers are slightly down during the restart — 14.3 PPG on .362/.300/.913 shooting in six games this summer.

Terrence Ross Temporarily Leaves Campus For Medical Reasons

Magic wing Terrence Ross has temporarily left the NBA’s campus at Walt Disney World due to a personal medical matter that is unrelated to COVID-19, the team announced today (Twitter link). Ross’ medical issue requires him to undergo off-site tests, the club notes.

As a result of his departure from Disney World, Ross has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game against Brooklyn. His availability moving forward will depend on his test results and the NBA’s quarantine protocols, according to the Magic.

Typically, a player who leaves the NBA’s campus for personal reasons is subject to a quarantine period of at least four days upon returning. However, the league sent out a memo in July informing teams that players wouldn’t necessarily have to quarantine for that long if they leave the bubble for local medical treatment with league approval.

The Magic have had some bad luck this summer, having lost forward Jonathan Isaac to a torn ACL, while other key contributors like Aaron Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams have been sidelined with injuries of their own. The team is now locked into the No. 8 seed in the East, so the focus will be on getting as many players as possible healthy for the start of the postseason next week.