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Dwane Casey: Ex-Raptor Terrence Ross was 'almost like a son'

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

The Toronto Raptors are in a better place with Serge Ibaka on the roster, but nabbing the Congolese shot-blocker came at a price.

Shipping Terrence Ross (plus a first-round pick) to the Orlando Magic was the cost of doing business, and with Ross returning to Air Canada Center as an opponent for the first time Monday, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey reflected fondly on his former protege.

"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."

Casey had overseen the entirety of Ross' pro career, from being selected eighth overall in 2012, to becoming a rotation player and eventually settling in as a dependable bench cog. There were ups and downs, but Ross was always loved by the franchise, and those feelings were reciprocated by Ross himself in a touching letter to Toronto in the Players' Tribune.

With all that being said, Casey couldn't resist a little dig at the prodigally talented, yet maddeningly inconsistent Ross, who famously scored 51 points in 2014 to match a Raptors franchise record.

"I remember that distinctly," Casey said of the 51-point game. "I remember the next game he had two (points), I remember that ... he did a heck of a job that night. He couldn't miss. It was one of those games where he was in that zone. Everything he threw up went in."

Ross actually scored 10 points the subsequent night, but nevertheless, the point stands.

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