Miami Heat prospect James Ennis likely to head overseas
MIAMI — 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.
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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.
Ennis, a 6-foot-7 swingman out of Long Beach State, was taken with the No. 50 overall pick in June by Atlanta and then traded to the Heat for a future second-round pick. He looked good in the summer league but the Heat have ample wing players and want to avoid paying as much luxury tax as possible.
“I think he’ll definitely be playing for the Heat (in 2014-15),” Nichols said. “They like him and they have a lot of wings who will be free agents next summer: Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, James Jones.”
Nichols said it “was a shock at first” for Ennis when he heard about the possibility of playing abroad for a year. But Nichols said Ennis now understands it could be beneficial.
“A lot of young players would love the opportunity to go overseas and then be able to play for the Miami Heat,” Nichols said.
If Ennis were to come to training camp, the Heat would have to put him on the roster at the start of the season or waive him. But if Ennis goes overseas, Miami would maintain his rights.
When free-agent center Greg Oden, who chose Miami on Friday, signs his deal, the Heat will have 13 players with guaranteed contracts and center Jarvis Varnado on a non-guaranteed deal. The roster limit is 15 and the minimum is 13.
The Heat are trying to avoid paying as much luxury tax as possible, so it’s no guarantee they will have 15 on the roster all of next season, when a more punitive tax enters the league. They also like to maintain roster flexibility. By having open spots last season, they were able to sign center Chris Andersen in January and forward Juwan Howard in March.
Ennis averaged 14.3 points for Miami in four Orlando Summer League games. Then he averaged 12.7 points in seven games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, including scoring 25 in the finale against Phoenix.
The Heat like Ennis’ athleticism, his 3-point shooting and that he can play multiple positions. There should be plenty of room on the roster for him in 2014-15 when the Heat likely will be watching costs even more as the luxury tax becomes even more punitive.