One of the best moves made at the trade deadline was the Raptors’ decision to bring in former Orlando Magic big man Serge Ibaka. The power forward and center brought along valuable spacing and defense to a team in need of both.
In order to get Ibaka, the Raptors had to move on from super-sub Terrence Ross. The shooting guard had been a fixture (mainly off the bench) in Toronto for the first four and a half seasons in the league.
While the move was a smart one for the Raptors, it’s clear it came at an emotional cost. Ross was close to his teammates and coaches. In fact, in head coach Dwane Casey’s own words ahead of Ross’ homecoming on Monday, the guard was almost a son to the lead man on the sidelines.
“It’s very difficult because he’s almost like a son,” Casey said of delivering the trade news to Ross. “You watch a young man come into the NBA, he’s wet behind the ears, learning the league, growing up right in front of you, it’s difficult.”
“Like I told him, it’s a business. As much as I’d love for him to stay here forever, it’s not going to happen. He’s going to be successful, he’s going to be a good player in this league, but it’s just the business of basketball.”
This is something we often forget as basketball fans. Being in a locker room tends to turn a group of players and coaches into a tight-knit unit. When one is removed, no matter the motivation behind the decision, it’s undoubtedly a tough pill to swallow.
Nevertheless, Casey made sure to get some jokes off about his former player, too:
Dwane Casey asked about his memories of the Terrence Ross 51-pt game: 'yeah,the next game he had two'
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) March 27, 2017
(Ross actually scored 10 points in the following game.)
Ross scored 17 points in his return to Toronto and enjoyed a video tribute and ovation from the Raptors’ staff and fans. But Toronto came away with the 131-112 win.