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Heat prospect James Ennis likely to play overseas next season

Aug 5, 2013, 8:29 PM EDT

Raptors Heat Basketball AP

When the Heat made a draft night trade for late second round pick James Ennis, it appeared as though the team would be interested in having him compete for a spot on the roster.

After getting a look at Ennis during both the Orlando and the Las Vegas Summer Leagues, however, the team has decided against bringing him to training camp, and it appears more and more likely now that Ennis will spend next season playing overseas.

It could ultimately be for the best for both sides.

From Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida:

Don’t look for James Ennis to be playing for the Miami Heat next season.

 Those close to the situation believe the second-round pick likely will head overseas. And his agent said Monday he’s making calls with that in mind.

“There’s a good chance he’ll play overseas (next season),” Scott Nichols said by phone to FOX Sports Florida.

Nichols said a final decision is expected to be made by the end of the week when he talks further with Heat president Pat Riley. Nichols said he’s having discussions with teams in France, Russia, Australia, Italy and Germany about Ennis.

There are a couple of factors at play here, and neither of them reflect poorly on Ennis.

The first is the Miami roster, which now has 13 guaranteed contracts in place after adding Greg Oden to the mix late last week. Jarvis Varnado is also in place on a non-guaranteed deal, which means that if the Heat were to add Ennis, that would max out the roster for next season.

A team expected to contend for the title doesn’t want that type of inflexibility, because veterans and other players of note sometimes become available late in the year, and the Heat would be wise to keep a spot open for any potential additions that could bolster the team before making its postseason run.

There’s also the luxury tax to consider. The Oden signing was for a veteran’s minimum deal that will pay him just over $1 million next season, but when the tax is added, it will cost Miami a total of around $2.6 million. We know Miami is sensitive to the luxury tax, or they wouldn’t have amnestied Mike Miller after he was one of the players that helped them win back-to-back NBA championships.

Adding Ennis would mean adding to the tax bill, and doing so somewhat unnecessarily. Miami is loaded at the position that Ennis would play, and by allowing him to go overseas, they’ll retain his NBA rights and can add him to the roster when it might make more sense to do so the following season.

  1. miamatt - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Looks like Ennis does have potential to eventually become a usable 3&D guy. But if it came down to Miami needing an emergency wing option this season, they’d be better off with a minimum salary vet then James Ennis. He can compete for a roster spot next season, when Miami could have the space for a developmental prospect.

  2. eventhorizon04 - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Miami Heat told Ennis’ agent that they plan to have him on the roster starting in 2014.

    The 2014 offseason is when both Shane Battier (confirmed) and Ray Allen (unconfirmed) are believed to be retiring, opening up roster spots at the shooting guard and small forward positions.

    • eventhorizon04 - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      Jackson didn’t report this, but my guess is that Ennis’ task in Europe will be to continue to work on his defense (already a strength) and his 3-point shooting, so that way he can take over Shane Battier’s “3 and D” role on the Heat, guarding multiple positions on defense and spacing the floor with 3 point shooting on offense.

  3. scorp16 - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    It would be nice to see the NBA fully develop the D league with each team having a single affiliation and interest. Let the front offices who drafted these kids have some impact on their development instead of shipping them overseas just so they can hold onto their rights.

    With the NCAA’s assesnine 1 year and done rule, many of these kids aren’t ready for the NBA anyway. Seems to me they could really strengthen that brand to the point that it would be as good if not better than the competition in Europe.

    Send players up, send them down, have the ability to trade NBA caliber talent for prospects, trade prospects for prospects, develop future coaches.

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