Kurt Helin

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James Ennis signs two-year, $6 million deal with Grizzlies

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James Ennis played just 40 minutes across 10 games in a stint with Memphis last season, but apparently GM Chris Wallace likes what he saw.

Or maybe he saw the nine games at the end of the disastrous Pelicans season where they gave the athletic wing out of Long Beach State (Go Beach!) a chance, starting him five games, and he averaged 15.9 points a game, shot 48 percent from three, and had a PER of 17.8. Small sample size, but it should have been enough to get him a chance somewhere next season.

It was back in Memphis, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Evans is long all kinds of athletic — remember this dunk?

However, athleticism and a high motor would only take Ennis so far, he needed to round out his game and become a more consistent defender and, more importantly, develop a steady outside shot. He showed that in a small sample size in New Orleans at the end of last season, he’s now got to do it regularly.

The Grizzlies have Chandler Parsons at the three (and Tony Allen at the two), Ennis could become a backup there getting steady run if he continues his growth. Memphis saw enough to take a couple year gamble on him to become that guy.

Rumor: Portland offers two-years, $40 million for Pau Gasol; he may wait for Kevin Durant’s decision

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This year there hasn’t been a domino effect this year, free agents have not been waiting to see what Kevin Durant is going to do. Al Horford didn’t wait even though a couple of teams in the Durant sweepstakes may have wanted to talk to him when they missed out (including Oklahoma City). Chandler Parsons, Nicolas Batum, Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan, nobody was waiting around.

Except maybe Pau Gasol. However, he may have a big offer on the table if wants it, as reported by Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.

The market for Pau Gasol appears to be around $18-22 million/year. Raptors, Bulls, Blazers, Wolves, Spurs among the teams in discussions with him, per sources. Not clear yet if he’ll wait until Durant decides.

Add the Timberwolves to the mix as well, according to Marc Spears of ESPN.

T-Wolves have made an aggressive two-year offer to Bulls free agent big man Pau Gasol to reunite him with coach Thibs, source said. Keep eye on Blazers & Spurs, too.

Even at age 36, Gasol is still efficient, averaging 16.5 points and 11 rebounds a game last season as an All-Star for the Bulls. Gasol’s high IQ game where he can operate in the low or high post would be a great fit for a number of teams. The questions become lifestyle — where does the very urban Gasol want to live? — and fit on the court. Is Gasol willing to accept a smaller role, maybe coming off the bench, for a chance to contend? If he chooses Portland, he will be far more featured inside (where the Blazers need some scoring).

We may get that answer soon. Or at least not long after Durant makes his call.

Report: Cole Aldrich bolts Clippers, signs three-year, $22 million deal with Timberwolves

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Last season, Cole Aldrich was quietly impressive backing up one of the best centers in the game — DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

The Timberwolves are betting he can do that same thing behind Karl-Anthony Towns.

Minnesota snapped up the center entering his seventh NBA season, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

That’s a great price for a quality rim-protecting center who does well against second units. Last season Aldrich averaged just 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game, but he played just more than 13 minutes a night as Doc Rivers leaned on Jordan and some small ball lineups. But Aldrich did well defensively in the paint, shot 59.6 percent from the floor, grabbed 19.6 percent of the available rebounds, and had a PER of 21.3.

I’m surprised a team in need of rim protection didn’t jump in and offer him more already. This is a smart move by Tom Thibodeau and his group.

The Clippers have now lost another of their free agents and part of their depth. Already Jeff Green left for Orlando, and Jamal Crawford is looking at other teams and not likely to return to Los Angeles. Now Aldrich is gone. The only guy they kept was Austin Rivers, and they overpaid a little to keep him.

The Clippers were thin last year; all these defections make that long-time Los Angeles issue worse.

Meanwhile, every move Minnesota makes has you thinking they are going to make a leap this season.

Kevin Durant meeting with Heat end, one follow up with Thunder still on his schedule

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Miami has made its pitch to Kevin Durant. We don’t know the details, but you can be sure it involved Pat Riley and the word “rings.”

Next up, the Oklahoma City Thunder get the last word. David Aldridge of TNT/NBA.com tweeted this.

Remember Oklahoma City got the first shot — before free agency officially started last Thursday, because he’s a member of that team — and then the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs, Celtics, and Heat got their turns in the room. Maybe he goes into the Thunder meeting Sunday night and says he’s staying. The buzz around the league is that the Thunder remain the clear front runners, although it’s not known what impact the Al Horford signing might have had on the Celtics’ pitch. Or if the Warriors — long rumored his most likely destination if Durant left OKC — won the day with the promise of rings.

Durant reportedly has told teams he will make his decision Sunday night, or Monday morning at the latest.

Until then, we wait.

No. 1 pick Ben Simmons makes it official, signs contract with Philadelphia

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There’s no real negotiation when it comes to signing an NBA rookie deal — the figures are set by the CBA (although teams can, and most do, give up to 120 percent of that number). So for No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, it was just a formality that he would sign with the team and get the deal done.

He did that Saturday.

(Note: Free agents who agreed to terms in recent days can’t officially sign with teams until the end of the moratorium on July 7; however that rule does not apply to rookie contracts.)

Simmons likely will make $5.9 million next season (which is 120 percent of the No. 1 pick slot).

He is expected to play with the Sixers Summer League team in Utah and Las Vegas.