Tag: Miami Heat

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers

James Ennis allows Heat to push back decision on him until opening night


The Miami Heat had until Saturday to make a decision on James Ennis: Guarantee his $845,000 contract for next season or buy him out for half.

The Heat wanted more time. Ennis gave it to them.

Ennis and the Heat are modifying his contract to allow Miami to put off that decision until opening night. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel breaks it down.

“…two sources involved in the process told the Sun Sentinel that the contract will be modified with no decision required until the eve of the season, when the Heat will have to decide to guarantee his salary for all of 2015-16…..

“The move with Ennis effectively eliminates Saturday as a contract deadline for the Heat. Forward Henry Walker, who had such a partial-guarantee deadline, was waived Monday. The partial guarantees for center Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson for Aug. 1 will be paid as scheduled on Saturday.”

Why would Ennis do that? Because he wants to make the team and he might not like the decision made Saturday.

Ennis showed an ability to finish at the rim and play a little defense as a rookie, but his play through the season was uneven, and he shot just 32 percent from three. Not ideal for a “3&D” guy. Then in Summer League he tried to play through an injury, but he shot just 30 percent overall and 11 percent from three.

I’m biased. I’m a Long Beach State guy, I’ve had season tickets for years, I watched Ennis through college. I want him to stick, prove he can play at this level.

But the Heat have Luol Deng and drafted Justise Winslow as the future at the three. Ennis is going to have to flat out ball in training camp to prove to the Heat he can be part of their future. He’s going to have to show growth in his game that was not evident in Summer League.

Report: Heat will pick up contract of Tyler Johnson, as expected

Tyler Johnson

Goran Dragic is the starting point guard in Miami. The question is who plays when he sits?

With Shabazz Napier now gone and Mario Chalmers still being shopped around, it was a forgone conclusion that the Heat would pick up the contract of point guard Tyler Johnson. They will do that soon, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Johnson was all about energy. He came in as a spark plug off the bench and played hard — sometimes crossing the line into out of control. He shot just 41.9 percent overall (although 37 percent from three) and had too many turnovers. But you could see the potential in the former Fresno State player who spent much of last season in the D-League.

This is an easy call for the Heat, he’s the kind of player they should be developing.

To my mind so is James Ennis, who showed not only can he finish at the rim but he is a threat from three (32.6 percent). If he can develop better handles and refine his shot he’s got a place in the league. The question is do the Heat think he has that in him (and can they bring it out of him). With Justise Winslow now in the mix at the three, how big a priority is Ennis?

Phil Jackson says Knicks wanted Goran Dragic at trade deadline. Because he’s such a triangle fit?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:   New York Knicks president Phil Jackson watches from the stands as his team plays the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.   The Knicks won 101-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Rule No. 1 about winning in the NBA: It’s all about the talent.

Gregg Popovich is brilliant, but he’s not wearing rings without Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker and the others. Phil Jackson was the master at getting great players to buy into a team concept, but he had great players, from Michael Jordan through Kobe Bryant.

And Jackson knows if he wants to turn the Knicks around, he needs exceptional talent. Like maybe Goran Dragic — when healthy one of the better point guards in the NBA. In his conversations during the season with his old friend Charlie Rosen (now published at ESPN), Jackson talked about eyeing Dragic at the trade deadline last February.

“Goran Dragic, for one. I heard through the grapevine that he was open to coming here. We worked hard on that possibility, but the asking price was too dear. Maybe we worked on that possibility so much so that it distracted us. I mean, Dragic is every team’s current choice for a nuclear option — a guard who can penetrate and either score or kick. Guys like Chris Paul and James Harden. But, anyway, that’s not really the way I want us to play.”

As a reminder, the Jackson and the Knicks moved first, on Jan. 5, took part in a three-team trade that sent Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to Cleveland. On Feb. 19 the Suns moved Dragic to the Heat in another three-team trade, which netted the Suns Danny Granger, John Salmons, and the real prize of two future first round picks (2017 and 2021). Dragic then re-signed with the Heat this summer.

But it’s the last line that is the most interesting from Jackson: “But, anyway, that’s not really the way I want us to play.” Dragic, like any traditional point guard who needs the ball in his hands, is not a fit in the triangle.

Jackson wants to validate his vision of the triangle in a new era. He wants an unselfish team where players cut and move off the ball, where the system is as big a star as the players. Like the Hawks, I guess.

But the system is only going to be as good as the players in it. What both the Bulls and Lakers for Jackson did well was put in role players who fit and bought into the system around their elite stars. Jordan, Kobe, Shaq, Pippen, etc. would have been successful regardless of the system. We can debate whether Carmelo Anthony can be one of those elite stars, but there is no debate the Knicks need more of them. Maybe Kristaps Porzingis can be, but we’re a few years from finding that out for sure. In the short term, the Knicks did a good job getting solid role players like Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez that will work in the triangle. That’s a start.

As much as changing the culture and putting in a system, Jackson knows he needs more elite players if he is going to bring a title back to NYC. Even if that means bending the triangle a little to make them work.

Jackson knows, he can talk all he wants about system and style, it comes down to talent first. Restock that cupboard and the triangle will look great again.