The Miami Heat made a surprising decision when they decided to move into the second round of this year’s NBA Draft to pick up James Ennis. The player then made a surprising decision, deciding to sign in Australia with the Perth Wildcats for the upcoming season.
Ennis had offers from various teams overseas, but he decided to sign in Australia due to them allowing him an opt-out clause to join the Heat this season if the NBA team comes calling, according to Fox Sports Florida’s Chris Tomasson. That likely won’t happen this season, but it’s smart to give himself options while making six figures this season.
“I can’t wait to get over to Australia and join my new teammates,” Ennis said in a press release. “Obviously I would have liked to be playing in the NBA this season, but it’s a huge opportunity to develop my skills in a good competition and put on a show for the fans in Perth.”
The more appealing scenario for the Heat, however, likely would’ve been for Ennis to play for their new squad in the NBA Development League. Miami decided to do a hybrid agreement with the Sioux Falls Skyforce this summer, gutting its basketball staff in order to hire new coaching personnel that will be able to install their brand of basketball. With that, it likely would’ve been nice to catch Ennis up to speed as well.
It’s difficult to blame Ennis for signing a six-figure contract overseas instead of accepting a $25,500 contract to play in the D-League — especially when the Heat would hold his rights either way — but it is interesting the Heat didn’t try a bit harder to sway their second-round pick into doing just that. Because, under that scenario, they’d have been able to have their own staff make sure he develops the things they want him to work on … even if it would’ve meant that he had to spend the season in South Dakota instead of Western Australia.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.