The Brooklyn Nets’ 2018-2019 roster is nearly complete. James Ennis III may be a prime candidate to fully round out the roster.
It’s just the second week of July, and nearly all free agency buzz has dropped to a murmur. Teams are focusing on one-year deals and their rookie performances in summer league.
Trade talk has been at near minimum, featuring the likes of Timofey Mozgov, Jerian Grant, and Dwight Howard.
For the Brooklyn Nets, it seems the team they’ve put together through the draft and one free agency deal is how they’ll enter next season. Still, a buyout agreement with Dwight Howard has left them with just over $10 million in cap space.
It could very well serve as a fix for the need at the power forward position, and there are multiple players still taking calls. Among them is James Ennis III, an unrestricted free agent following a productive stint with the Detroit Pistons.
At 28 years old, Ennis has played in four different uniforms over four years in the league. He’s posted career averages of 6.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and more importantly; a .359 clip from beyond-the-arc.
Ennis is a more than fitting target for a portion of the Nets’ remaining cap space, though only at a one-year frame. And per Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Brooklyn has shown interest:
The Pistons have James Ennis’ early bird rights and have made re-signing him a priority. Several other teams, including the Sixers, Rockets and Nets, have expressed interest in signing the 28-year-old wing, league sources say.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 1, 2018
The two other teams listed will be considered contenders for a championship, while the Nets haven’t seen the postseason since 2014. Still, there is more than enough reason for both sides to have interest in a deal.
Summer of 2019
While Ennis is just 28, he’s has yet to land a big paycheck in four years of play. In Brooklyn, it’s hard to see him getting the full $10 million they have to spend on a one year deal.
The Nets still have yet to sign second-round pick Rodions Kurucs to his contract and only gave Ed Davis $4.4 million for next season.
A one-year deal is likely all that will be offered or has been offered already, as next summer’s free agency market will be full of star talent.
The likes of Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, and Klay Thompson will all be looking for new deals. Currently projected to have an NBA-high $70 million in cap space, Brooklyn won’t put that in danger for a reserve player like Ennis.
And there’s no reason for him to jeopardize what could be his only chance at a real contract next summer by insisting on a multi-year deal with any team. Making the fit in Brooklyn all the more apparent.
Teams that strike out on star talent and free agency altogether will still have plenty of cap space to offer up next summer. A productive year for Ennis could earn him a multi-year deal.
Brooklyn’s frontcourt has grown thin since last season, behind the losses of Dante Cunningham, Timofey Mozgov, and Jahlil Okafor.
While Cunningham is the only of the three that saw actual minutes, losing out on the other two still takes a stab at the Nets’ frontcourt depth.
Ennis, at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, could definitely fill in at the power forward position behind starter DeMarre Carroll. Not to mention his ability to shoot the three ball, which is a near-requirement in coach Kenny Atkinson’s system.
Check this 21-point performance from Ennis back in March, where he didn’t miss once on four attempts from deep:
At the four, he’ll still be seeing just under 20 minutes per game. That’s more than enough to make an impact, especially when paired with newly signed center Ed Davis.
They’ll make for quite the defensive second unit, and help bolster a young team in desperate need of defense.
With other potential suitors like Philadelphia and Houston, it’s hard to see Ennis getting near as many minutes, on teams that can’t afford to experiment with rotations.
Atkinson, though in part due to an injured roster, played with his lineups all season long last year. Ennis could even see a few nights at the starting slot with the right amount of effort displayed. He certainly won’t be offered that elsewhere.
For hopes of earning a paycheck next season, and the other side signing them; James Ennis III and Brooklyn make for a near-perfect fit.
The Nets’ ability to offer him minutes and a solid role on a team hoping for playoffs make them a prime destination for this NBA journeyman.