Celtics Trade for Magic’s Sharpshooter ‘Makes a Lot of Sense,’ Says Insider

Terrence Ross Celtics trade floated by The Athletic

Getty Terrence Ross #31 of the Orlando Magic celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics.

The Orlando Magic own the fourth-worst record in all of basketball. The Boston Celtics own an NBA record $28.5 million traded player exception. It’s no wonder why the two teams have been constantly linked as trade partners ahead of the March 25th trade deadline.

The name most readily floated in a potential deal between these two parties is center Nikola Vucevic, who is then quickly followed by teammate Aaron Gordon. While both these players would prove as major gets for the Celtics, the compensation it would take to acquire either player could prove a bit pricey for Danny Ainge’s taste. Yet, that’s not to say a Celtics-Magic deal is a no-go.

Instead of selling the farm for an All-Star, or hedging their bets on a former No. 4 overall pick, the fellas at The Athletic floated a trade that would instead yield Boston instant scoring off the bench at a fraction of the price.

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Terrence Ross to the Celtics?

Celtics beat writer Jared Weiss clearly likes the sound of it, essentially signing off on a swap of Ross for rookie Aaron Nesmith.

A Ross-for-Nesmith swap makes a lot of sense since Nesmith is in many ways a nascent version of Ross. The Magic guard is one of the league’s best shooters coming off screens and he could really help make the Celtics’ offensive scheme more balanced and complex, even if overall he isn’t shooting nearly as well as he did in his 2018-19 campaign when he really seemed to peak.

Ross is a streaky scorer, especially when it comes from shooting beyond the arc, evident by his iffy 34.4% three-point percentage. With that said, the 30-year-old is averaging a career-best 15.5 points per game this season on 41% shooting from the field. Ross closed out the first half of the season by putting up 28 points against the Atlanta Hawks. Furthermore, he’s scored at least 17 points in all but three of his last 12 games.

Ross has begun to garner interest on the trade market with Orlando looking like sellers at the deadline. The Denver Nuggets are one of the teams that have reportedly inquired about acquiring the Magic veteran, per The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.


Should Celtics Be Patient With Nesmith?

The most interesting aspect of this trade is that if the Celtics were willing to wait on Nesmith to develop, he could very well become the type of player that Ross is currently –– if not better. The question is, would Boston be willing to wait, and should they?

Nesmith, widely perceived as the best shooter in his draft class, has yet to carve out a sizeable role in Boston’s rotation. The reigning No. 14 overall pick, Nesmith has appeared in just 18 games thus far this season, averaging 4.2 points over 15.6 minutes per game. With that said, the Vanderbilt product’s energy and growth on the defensive end has begun to earn him the praise of head coach Brad Stevens, although his minutes continue to be sporadic.

As for Ross, the Oregon native is a proven commodity who can score in bunches. While he may not be the most sound defensive player in the league, he has a knack for pickpocketing, averaging 1.1 steals since arriving in Orlando back in 2016. On top of that, he also carries a fairly team-friendly deal. The contract checks in at $13.5 million this year and drops by a million each season through 2022-23.

Weiss believes that, while Nesmith may have a higher ceiling than Ross, acquiring the latter is the type of win-now move that would better help Boston’s immediate title hopes.

The Celtics also could use his defensive energy, or just his energy overall. His trigger-happy nature would be a real positive for a team that has been struggling with confidence and certainty in its role players this season. Nesmith could turn into a similar player with even more shooting potential down the road, but this is the reasonable win-now move that a sub-contender typically needs to do to close the gap to the real contenders at the top of the league.

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