Miami Heat pick signed in Australia, but has NBA out if necessary

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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.