I’ll just admit my bias up front — I’m a Long Beach State season ticket holder and I love this news about James Ennis.
Although the expected news about Udonis Haslem is probably the bigger story.
The Miami Heat announced they have signed James Ennis to a contract and will be bringing back Haslem for two more seasons.
Haslem opted out of his contract to give Pat Riley room to maneuver during free agency and there was no way he wasn’t going to be back — Miami signed him with the room exception, giving him $2.7 million next two seasons.
As for James Ennis, Riley talked about him.
“We were excited to draft James a year ago and have been impressed by the growth of his game in Summer League and Puerto Rico, as well as his terrific experience in Australia, leading Perth to a championship. We are looking forward to the infusion of energy he will bring to our roster.”
Miami traded for the rights to Long Beach State’s Ennis on draft night in 2013 in a trade with Atlanta, but he went to play last season overseas in Australia (he would have spent the season in the D-League stateside, overseas he got paid more). He led the Perth Wildcats to the Australian Basketball League title averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and shooting 35 percent from three.
Ennis showed his growth in five summer league games for Miami, scoring 15.1 points a game and shooting 48.1 percent from three.
He’s going to be a “3&D” guy in the NBA and he’s got some work to do to really bring that at an NBA level, but he’s shown growth and he has the athleticism, so he’s going to get the chance.
For you keeping track at home, that could mean two Long Beach State alums in the NBA, the other being the Sixers’ Casper Ware.
Cavaliers GM David Griffin — who doesn’t have a contract with the team beyond this year, but who LeBron James has endorsed — is on their radar.
Larry Bird, who is stepping down in Indiana, is a potential target.
You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.
The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.
He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.
The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.
McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.
Joel Embiid is a man of the people.
And last night the people in Philadelphia were all Eagles fans, watching the NFL Draft unfold.
Embiid was out there with them. Literally.
Ben Simmons was there as well with Embiid, according to CSNPhilly.com.
Philadelphia fans can only hope the Eagles draft as well — and have WAY better injury luck — than the Sixers.
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have put in bids to host a future NBA All-Star Game at Little Caesars Arena.
The team says in a release Friday that bids were submitted to the league for 2020 and 2021.
Little Caesars Arena is being built just north of downtown Detroit and is expected to open this year. It also will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
In November, the Pistons announced the team was moving back to Detroit from The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The city of Detroit last hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1959. The 1979 game was played in Pontiac when the Pistons’ home court was the Silverdome.
NBA All-Star events include the All-Star Game, NBA Rising Stars Challenge, a celebrity game, skills competition and fan events.
When the Woj bomb dropped that Larry Bird was stepping down as president of the Indiana Pacers, two questions came to mind. First was, “Is he healthy?” Reportedly he is, this was not a healthy-related decision. Which is great news.
Second, what does that mean for Paul George?
Is Indiana more likely to trade him now? Less?
George speculation has ramped up around the league and — while no doubt new GM Kevin Pritchard will say he would love to keep PG13 when he speaks to the media — there is a sense Bird walking away could be a sign that the Pacers are moving into rebuilding mode. That said, Pritchard is known for driving a hard bargain, he’s not going DeMarcus Cousins trade here.
I talk about all of that and more in this latest PBT Extra.