Terrence Ross

Southeast Notes: Ross, Hawks, Wolf, Maten

Magic guard Terrence Ross is about to enter the final season of a three-year, $31.5MM rookie contract extension that he signed in November, 2015. And according to Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com, Ross, 27, is intent on improving upon an injury-riddled 2017/18 season that limited him to 24 games.

“It’s always a big year any time your contract is coming to an end,” Ross explained. “You just want to go out there know that you’re 100 percent and play as well as you can, play with confidence and more importantly, help the (Magic) win.”

Regardless of his motivation, both Magic High Performance Director David Tenney and new head coach Steve Clifford appear to be satisfied with what they’re seeing out of Ross so far this offseason.

“He’s done a consistent amount of work this entire offseason, not just with (the Magic), but with his personal trainers as well,” said Tenney. “The consistency of doing stuff multiple times per week, coming here at night and doing stuff on his own, the consistent workload from the beginning of June until now, is really starting to pay off and you can see that he’s really looked a lot sharper.”

According to Savage, Ross’ conditioning and strength-training efforts are paying off on the court. In a recent pick-up game with Magic teammates and other NBA players, Ross knocked down six consecutive shots from various parts of the floor.

“Every day – he’s (even) come in on a couple of Saturdays,” Clifford said. “He’s really committed himself. I think his conditioning level is good, but his game is getting into rhythm, you can see it when he works out and you can see it when they (he and his Magic teammates) play.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat power forward Yante Maten is excited to show people what he can do after signing a two-way contract with Miami this summer, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. The 2018 SEC Player of the Year believes his ability to stretch the floor and play hard on both sides of the court will help find him success in the NBA.
  • The Hornets plan to name Joe Wolf as the new head coach of their G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, per a report from Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days. A University of North Carolina alum, Wolf spent last season serving as an assistant coach for UNC Wilmington after spending multiple years as a coach in the G League beforehand.
  • The Hawks have announced a 20-year collaboration with State Farm that includes naming rights for the Hawks’ newly-renovated arena. Per principal owner Tony Ressler, Our ownership group considers the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club a community asset, and we are excited to have found a partner that shares our vision and has committed to working with us to expand on the community engagement and philanthropic initiatives we do that benefit the many communities that make up this great metropolitan area.”

Injury Updates: Embiid, Bullock, Hill, Ross

Joel Embiid has been cleared to begin light non-contact conditioning as the Sixers center continues his recovery from a concussion and orbital fracture, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. If he’s symptom-free from there, he can resume
on-court activities without contact, Pompey continues. The injuries occurred on March 28th and he had surgery on March 31st. The team is hopeful he can return at some point during the opening round of the playoffs, Pompey adds.

In other injury-related news from around the league:

  • Pistons shooting guard Reggie Bullock has been shut down for the rest of the season due to a swollen left knee, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Coach Stan Van Gundy has Bullock’s knee had gotten worse in recent weeks. “First, they want to see how he responds to rest, but then it’ll be anything from an injection to a scope, which would be the most serious, at four to six weeks, but nothing long-term,” he said. Bullock emerged as a starter this season, averaging 11.3 PPG and making 44.5% of his 3-point tries.
  • Cavs guard George Hill is hopeful of returning to action Monday after participating in practice on Sunday, according to AmicoHoops.net. Hill sat out the last two games with a sprained left ankle. “It was good to get back out there and get up and down the floor a little bit,” he said. “So, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
  • Magic swingman Terrence Ross played 10 minutes Sunday and had a 3-pointer and two assists in his first game since late November, John Denton of the Magic’s website reports. Ross has been sidelined most of the season with a right knee injury and bone bruise. “I felt good and it was a tribute to all of the workouts and the work with the strength (and conditioning) coaches,’’ Ross said. “Just being able to play is the victory. It felt really good.’’

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Vogel, Peterson, Morris, Ross

Selfish play has put the Wizards in a tailspin, coach Scott Brooks told Candace Buckner of the Washington Post and other media members. Washington lost to the lottery-bound Hawks on Friday and have fallen to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. “Not passing the ball to one another. Simple as that,” Brooks said. “Nobody wanted to share the basketball (Friday). When you do that you end up taking bad shots. When you take bad shots, you end up missing. Simple game.” The Wizards have also ranked last in defensive field goal percentage since February 28th, Buckner points out.

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic were devastated by injuries this season but that excuse may not be enough for coach Frank Vogel to retain his job, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Vogel has not received a public vote of confidence since the All-Star break and team president Jeff Weltman wouldn’t comment last month on his coach’s job security, Robbins continues. Team CEO Alex Martins was also evasive this weekend when asked Vogel’s status, saying only  “We don’t deal with those issues until the season’s over,” Robbins adds.
  • Buzz Peterson, the Hornets interim GM, is expected to maintain a significant role in the front office under new president and GM Mitch Kupchak, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets. Peterson had served as the interim GM after Rich Cho was fired. Kupchak was officially hired on Sunday.
  • Wizards forward Markieff Morris was fined $15,000 by the league for “inappropriate comments” toward an official Friday night, according to an ESPN report. Morris made the comments when he was ejected during the first quarter against the Hawks.
  • Magic swingman Terrence Ross returned to action on Sunday night at Toronto after a lengthy absence, Robbins tweets. The former Raptor had not played since November 29th due to a knee injury and a subsequent bone bruise.

Injury Notes: Ajinca, Neto, Ross, Morris, Williams

A lost season for Alexis Ajinca went from bad to worse this week, as the Pelicans big man underwent surgery on his left patellar tendon, according to the team (Twitter link). The procedure was successful and Ajinca is on track to recover in four to six months, which would allow him to return for the start of the 2018/19 season. However, it must have been a frustrating development for Ajinca, who underwent the same procedure on his right patellar tendon in December.

Here are a few more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • Jazz point guard Raul Neto remains sidelined with a left wrist fracture and will be re-evaluated one week from today, the Jazz announced in a press release. Dante Exum‘s return and solid play have allowed Utah to cope with Neto’s absence without any major trouble.
  • Injured Magic swingman Terrence Ross continues to recover from a bone bruise he suffered around the All-Star break, and may not make it back onto the court before season’s end. According to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link), head coach Frank Vogel said today that it’s probably unlikely that Ross plays another game this season.
  • Already hit hard by the injury bug, the Celtics saw Marcus Morris leave Monday’s game in the fourth quarter due to a sprained right ankle. As an ESPN report details, X-rays came back negative, so Morris may not be looking at an extended absence — that would be a relief for the C’s, who could use some good injury news.
  • After missing nearly the entire 2017/18 season with a knee injury, Suns big man Alan Williams returned to action on Monday night, putting up three points and five rebounds in 16 minutes. Williams has a non-guaranteed $5.52MM salary for 2018/19, so team management will want to take a close look at him down the stretch this season.

Injury Updates: Leonard, Hill, Williams, Ross, Wall

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard will meet with coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday to discuss his progress rehabbing from a quad injury, Michael C. Wright of ESPN reports. Leonard could return as early as Thursday if both parties feel he’s ready to play again. The team’s franchise player has been sidelined since January 13th with the lingering quad issue that has cost him all but nine games this season. 

In other injury updates from around the league:

  • Pelicans forward Solomon Hill could make his season debut as early as this weekend, William Guillory of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Hill has been sidelined by a torn hamstring suffered in late August.  “We’re so close to the finish line that we’re definitely not going to rush the situation now,” coach Alvin Gentry told Guillory. “I can see a situation where he might be able to play a few minutes here or there.” Hill is in the second year of a four-year, $48MM contract.
  • Suns reserve center Alan Williams could make his season debut on Tuesday, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Williams underwent surgery in September to repair the meniscus in his right knee with a six-month timetable to return. He went through a full practice on Monday. Williams, whose three-year, $17MM contract is only guaranteed through this season, averaged 11.4 PPG and 9.1 RPG after the All-Star break last season.
  • Magic swingman Terrence Ross is questionable to return this season, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Ross has been sidelined since November 29th with a knee injury. A bone bruise has stalled Ross’ return, Robbins adds. “Some days it feels good, and then some days it kind of flares up,” Ross told Robbins. Ross has one season left on a contract that pays him $10.9MM annually.
  • Wizards point guard John Wall went through some non-contract drills Monday as he works his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports relays. If medically cleared, Wall could practice in full for the first time on Friday, Hughes adds.

Magic Notes: Isaac, Gordon, Vucevic, Ross

As we relayed on Thursday, rookie Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is on track to play on Friday night for the first time in 2018. Speaking today to reporters, head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that Isaac will make his return to the court, but cautioned that last year’s sixth overall pick will be on a minutes limit. As Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets, Isaac will play about 15 minutes in his first game back from an ankle injury.

Here’s more on the Magic:

  • Aaron Gordon recently admitted that it’s a challenge to stay in the present and not think about his upcoming free agency, as John Denton of the team’s official site writes. “Of course, of course, I worry,” said Gordon, who will be a restricted free agent in July. “It’s natural and it’s human to worry. But you work on your mentality so that you can enjoy the present moment instead of worrying. If you’re so caught up in what’s happened or what’s going to happen, you can’t fully enjoy what’s happening right now.”
  • Elsewhere at the Magic’s official site, Dan Savage takes an in-depth look at Nikola Vucevic‘s recovery from a broken bone in his hand, detailing how even a fairly common injury for an NBA player can result in a long, arduous rehab process. Vucevic, who suffered the injury just before Christmas, returned to action after the All-Star break.
  • Speaking of injured Magic players, Terrence Ross – who has been on the shelf since the end of November with a knee injury – had a small setback in February and is probably still a few weeks away from returning, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel wrote earlier this week.

Terrence Ross Out Indefinitely With Knee Injury

Magic swingman Terrence Ross has been diagnosed with a sprained right MCL and a non-displaced fracture of his right tibial plateau, the team announced today in a press release. The Magic didn’t provide a specific timetable for Ross’ recovery, but indicated he’ll be out indefinitely and will miss “a significant amount of time.”

Ross, acquired by the Magic last February in the trade that sent Serge Ibaka to Toronto, has been Orlando’s starting shooting guard for most of this season. However, his play had been up and down — Ross’ 9.0 PPG, .407 FG%, and .329 3PT% are all below his career averages.

Although the Magic’s announcement said that Ross’ return date will depend on how his injury heals and how he responds to treatment, it’s probably safe to assume we won’t see him until sometime in 2018. A sprained MCL on its own generally takes several weeks to heal, and Ross also has to deal with a tibial plateau fracture — that injury affects the upper part of the shin bone, near the knee joint.

Jonathon Simmons had moved into Orlando’s starting lineup this week and figures to continue to start at the two going forward. Evan Fournier, Arron Afflalo, and Mario Hezonja also may see more minutes while Ross remains out of action.

Southeast Rumors: Monk, Heat, Simmons, Isaac

Malik Monk‘s spotty minutes in recent games is due to Michael Carter-Williams defensive ability and not some sort of punishment for the first-round pick, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. The Hornets have played much better defensively with Carter-Williams in the rotation and Monk became the odd man out, Bonnell continues. Monk is still learning to play point guard after being a shooting guard in college and has plenty of work to do defensively, Bonnell adds.

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may have invested too much on complementary pieces, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel opines. It’s fair to question whether the club would be better off now and into the future by spending on top players rather than doling out large contracts to players such as Josh RichardsonTyler Johnson, James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, Winderman adds.
  • Magic coach Frank Vogel made his first non-injury related change to the starting lineup Monday, inserting swingman Jonathon Simmons in place of Terrence Ross, John Denton of the Magic’s website reports. Vogel wants to give Simmons more playing time and Ross has spent most of his career coming off the bench, Denton notes. “Terrence and I have been in conversations about him maybe being more involved when coming off the bench and with Simmons, we’d like to see what we look like with him having a bigger role,’’ Vogel said.
  • Magic rookie power forward Jonathan Isaac could return as early as Wednesday from the ankle sprain he suffered on November 11th, Denton notes in a separate story. The lottery pick missed his eighth consecutive game on Monday. “It’s definitely taken longer than I thought it would,” Isaac told Denton.

Southeast Notes: Ross, Gordon, Howard, Batum

The Magic have fallen on tough times after an 8-4 start, but they are just two and a half games out of a playoff spot and still qualify as one of this year’s early-season surprises. Coach Frank Vogel tells Nick Friedell of ESPN the team made a mistake at the start of last season by going against the small-ball trend, adding that things began to turn around with the trade of Serge Ibaka to Toronto for Terrence Ross. That created an opening for Aaron Gordon at power forward and Evan Fournier at small forward.

“I think last year we were trying to go big when the whole league was going small and it wasn’t really working,” agreed center Nikola Vucevic. “A lot of guys were out of their comfort zone, a lot of guys were out of position. It just wasn’t working, it wasn’t clicking. I think this year players’ roles are more clear.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • New GM John Hammond is confident that Gordon, a restricted free agent, will agree to a long-term contract next summer, Friedell relays in the same story. Orlando wasn’t able to work out an extension with Gordon before last month’s deadline, but Hammond believes his future will be with the Magic“You look at a guy like that and say, ‘He’s one of those guys as you move forward with, that you got to have,'” Hammond said. “And we feel that way.” Gordon is off to the best start of his career, averaging 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in 17 games.
  • Early-season technical fouls are piling up for Hornets center Dwight Howard, notes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The NBA announced today that Howard was fined $35K for an obscene gesture in Friday’s game at Cleveland. That’s his second fine this season and sixth technical in 18 games. There will be an automatic one-game suspension if he reaches 16, and the league could impose a separate suspension if the obscene gestures continue.
  • Nicolas Batum isn’t worried about any long-term effects from his latest elbow injury, Bonnell tweets. Batum was able to return to the Hornets‘ lineup tonight after sitting out Friday. He left Wednesday’s game with a contusion on his left elbow, the same one that caused him to miss the first 12 games of the season.

Southeast Notes: Ross, Heat, Batum, Hawks

Having been sent to Orlando from Toronto at this year’s trade deadline, Terrence Ross will get an earlier start to the offseason with the Magic than he has had in recent years with the Raptors. Nonetheless, Ross is looking forward to spending the summer in Orlando to “familiarize himself with the area and work on his game,” according to John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, who notes that the veteran swingman has bought a house in Central Florida.

Ross has also looked more at home on the court for the Magic as of late — in his last 12 games, he has averaged 14.8 PPG, shooting .462/.390/.933. All of those marks except for 3PT% (he shot 39.5% in 2013/14) would be career highs for Ross if he maintained them over a full season, so Orlando has reason to be optimistic going forward.

Here’s more from around the Southeast division:

  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel believes it has “become clear” that James Johnson should be the top priority among the Heat‘s 2017 free agents. Dion Waiters looked like that player for much of the season, but Winderman notes that Waiters’ absence in recent weeks has allowed Miami to explore other options at shooting guard, and the results have been solid.
  • Veteran forward Nicolas Batum confirmed over the weekend that he won’t play for France in this year’s Eurobasket tournament (video link). Batum will instead dedicate his summer to the Hornets after the team endured a disappointing 2016/17 campaign.
  • The Hawks announced today in a press release that front office executive Malik Rose has been promoted and will serve as the general manager of Atlanta’s new D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. The BayHawks had been Orlando’s NBADL affiliate this past season, but the Hawks will assume control of the Erie club when the Magic introduce a new Lakeland affiliate in 2017/18.