On Wednesday, we got our first explicit news that the interest might be mutual, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype is reporting that the Lakers are one of a few teams with interest in adding Ennis:
James Ennis has drawn interest from the Blazers as well as the Bulls, Lakers, and Magic, I’m told.
And as our own Jacob Rude wrote earlier when Ennis went on his tweet-liking spree, the journeyman forward and Southern California native who has played for nearly one-third of the league would be a solid fit for his hometown Lakers on paper.
The Lakers also are a contender that could use Ennis’ services. At this stage in free agency, most unsigned players have to choose between either playing rotation minutes for a non-contender or spot minutes for a contender. Ennis is uniquely positioned as a 3-and-D forward to play minutes for a contender like the Lakers immediately.
Ennis showcased an ability to knock down open 3-pointers after shooting 43.3% from range last season. At 6’6” with a wingspan an inch under seven feet, Ennis has the tools to be impactful defensively as well. And with the Lakers lacking true small forwards outside of LeBron James, Ennis is a signing that would make sense.
The only complication is that — at least for now — the Lakers have 14 of their 15 guaranteed roster spots filled, following their expected addition of veteran center DeAndre Jordan. The team reportedly wants to leave one roster spot open for the buyout market, and while waving Marc Gasol would be an easy way to add Ennis while keeping a spot available, it would also still cost the Lakers Gasol’s salary and the associated luxury tax penalties, so they may be looking to trade him instead in order to avoid spending money on a player they clearly don’t plan to keep.
And as Scotto’s report makes clear, Ennis is also still very much weighing his options, and so the Lakers probably have some time to figure all this out. But with training camp kicking off around the league on Sept. 28, expect both of these situations to get resolved one way or another fairly soon.