James Ennis is hoping for some stability for what has been a nomadic NBA career. Ennis was dealt to the 76ers from Houston at the trade deadline on Feb. 7.
He agreed to terms when free agency opened and will return to the Sixers on a two-year, $4.1 million contract with a player option for the second year.
The Sixers are the sixth NBA team for Ennis, who turned 29 on July 1. He moved around immediately in the NBA. After being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by Atlanta, Ennis was dealt on draft night to Memphis, and that began a career on the move for the 6-foot-7 swingman.
Now he hopes he has a home with more permanence.
“I wanted to come back here,” Ennis said on Thursday. “I had a couple of teams offer me more, but it is about long-term, and I really wanted to come back to Philly."
He said staying long-term is a true goal.
“I wish. It’s all up to Elton,” he said, referring to Sixers general manager Elton Brand.
Ennis averaged 5.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 15.6 minutes in 18 regular-season games last season. During the playoffs, he was used more, averaging 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.1 minutes.
He says there will be much more of a comfort level when he enters training camp, which is expected to begin around Oct. 1.
“I know my role coming into this year, so I will be a lot better and more comfortable, and you guys will be able to see ‘Ennis the Menace’ this year,” he said.
Ennis, who, along with Mike Scott, was a key player off the bench in the playoffs, defined his role this way: “Hard-nosed player. Knock down shots. Guard anybody.”
In July, Ennis gained national attention when, during an interview with The Inquirer, he talked about the Sixers’ chances this season.
"The East is going to be wide open,” he said. “We had a good chance last year. Kawhi [Leonard] is gone. He went to the West.
He said that in the offseason even while working out in California, he has been reminded of the comments.
“I have seen a little bit of that, but I just laugh,” he said of the reaction.
He still feels strongly that the Sixers can compete for an NBA title, and he can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve been waiting for this since last year ended,” he said. “I am excited for this upcoming year and to get with the guys.”
A Sixers official confirmed that seven-time NBA all-star Joe Johnson and former Sixer Spencer Hawes were among the players who had workouts with the team on Thursday. ESPN first reported that these two would work out for the team.
The official said there were more players at the workout but would not disclose the names, adding that Thursday continued a long tradition of looking at players.
NBA teams are able to have 15 players on the roster. The Sixers have 14 players with fully guaranteed contracts and Trey Burke with a partially guaranteed contract, according to the team official.
Johnson, 38, last played in the NBA in 2017-2018, when he competed for Utah and Houston. He was the MVP this summer of the BIG3 league, the half-court three-on-three league founded by entertainer Ice Cube. Johnson will be playing in Sunday’s BIG3 championship at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.