Rockets Sign James Ennis, Wait on Carmelo Anthony

Will James Ennis and, potentially, Carmelo Anthony help the Rockets Run as One again in 2018?
Will James Ennis and, potentially, Carmelo Anthony help the Rockets Run as One again in 2018? Photo by Eric Sauceda
On Wednesday, the Rockets signed free agent forward James Ennis to a two-year deal worth a little over $2 million. The second year has a player option. The move was clearly an effort to help replace the losses of Trevor Ariza, who took a one-year deal in Phoenix, and Luc Mbah a Moute, who went back to the Clippers.

Ennis spent some time in Memphis playing under Rockets assistant and defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik. He has similar size to Ariza and Mbah a Moute, with a respected defensive game. Additionally, he has shown promise as a catch-and-shoot three point shooter. With the Rockets star guards creating wide open looks, Ennis should have every opportunity to improve on that part of his game and to get up and down the floor, something he apparently loves.

The next big question, save when will the Rockets and Clint Capela find a number both can agree upon for a new contract, is will Carmelo Anthony sign in Houston. It is widely expected the Oklahoma City Thunder will release him, though there is a chance he'll be traded and then waived so OKC wouldn't come away totally empty handed.

The Thunder gave permission to both the Rockets and Miami Heat to speak with Anthony ahead of his eventual release. Anthony and his people spoke with the Rockets in Las Vegas apparently earlier this week or over last weekend. It was reported he met with the Heat as well.

Anthony has pals in both spots — Chris Paul here, Dwyane Wade in Miami. His choice will likely reveal a lot about what he wants from the final years of his career. Choosing to play in Houston means he is willing to sacrifice for the chance at a title. Joining the Heat means he prefers to play his game, his way. Also, he probably digs South Beach.

If he lands in Houston, it will be the culmination of a years-long effort by the team to land the All-Star forward. Granted, he is well past his peak, but he is still a talented offensive player and would seem to fit well into the Rockets ISO offensive schemes. He is not a great defender, but some of that might be mitigated by the switching defense the Rockets adopted midseason last year.

Whatever happens, it is likely to occur within the next couple of weeks. Until then, Melo Watch continues.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke