After appearing to be of questionable value to the Sixers during his regular season stint in Philly, James Ennis III produced when it mattered, as he was undoubtedly a valuable member of the Brett Brown’s playoff rotation. Unfortunately for the Sixers, Ennis’ ability to contribute in the playoffs is likely to have increased his market value. This has not been lost on Ennis, who will decline his $1.8 million player option for 2019-2020, thus making him a free agent come July 1st, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Charania followed up the above with another tweet in which Charania notes that Ennis is expected to field a multiyear deal.
Ennis turning down his player option isn’t the least bit shocking; many Sixers fans have anticipated this development pretty much since the conclusion of Game 7, probably before that had the topic crossed their minds. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Ennis is a solid two-way wing as far as bench depth goes, and if the off-season headlines go the way the Sixers would like them to, Philly will be strapped for cap space in filling out the roster beyond the starting lineup.
The good news is this: the Sixers may already have a player or two on their roster ready to step into Ennis’ (possibly former) spot in the rotation in Zhaire Smith and Shake Milton. It is also worth noting that Ennis declining his option doesn’t necessarily guarantee he won’t be a Sixer next season. We’ve seen the market turn to unfavorable conditions for many free agents after the first few days of free agency, forcing role players to take deals that are less lucrative than they were hoping for.