It may have been Saturday night, but Raptors management was not out partying. With the 2019-20 NBA season set to begin on Tuesday, and an apparent endless amount of work to be done, Masai Ujiri and co. were handling business. What business, you ask? Well, according to the reporting of the mad man Blake Murphy (of course), Toronto spent Saturday night signing point guard Tyler Ennis... and then waiving him.
The Raptors have signed and subsequently waived Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 20, 2019
Let’s address who Ennis is first. Hailing from Brampton, the 6’3”, 194 pound point guard was selected 18th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. This was back when they had a million point guards they subsequently traded away or lost; and in true Robert Sarver-led fashion, Ennis was not long for the desert — or any place else. He was traded to the Bucks in 2015, then traded to Houston in 2016, then traded to the Lakers in 2017. Despite signing a multi-year deal with Los Angeles, Ennis was cut by the team in 2018, spent last season playing in Turkey (probably a good time to get out of there) where he suffered a gruesome leg injury, and now here we are.
Now at 25 years old, Ennis has averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 assists per game, while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 32 percent from three, for his career in the NBA. Like many former draftees, he’s shown enough to hang around the margins of the league, but hasn’t done a lot to firmly ensconce himself in any one place. Hence the recent history, and the current situation with the Raptors.
It’s worth noting here that the Raptors actually wanted to select Ennis in the 2014 NBA Draft. Look at all these extremely kind words from former Toronto head coach Dwane Casey. In that moment, the Suns screwed it up (what else is new?) — and the Raptors went with Bruno Caboclo instead. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Anyway, moving on.
For this particular move, Toronto is merely repeating what they’ve done with some of their other recent signees — namely Matt Morgan and Devin Robinson. (Some thoughts on the Raptors’ final roster construction are here.) Signing Ennis to the Raptors means he, like those other players, gets a bump in salary, and it grants Toronto his rights as an affliate player, which means they do not have to select Ennis in the G-League Draft or use the waiver process to procure him. In other words, it’s a low-cost move that quite simply brings in a player the Raptors like. Done and done.
Given the ups and downs of Ennis’ recent journey through the NBA and beyond over the past five years, it remains to be seen if he’s still capable of being a player at this level. For now, Toronto has added another high character player to their 905 squad that appears to be rapidly coming together for the G-League season ahead. And that’s no fever dream.