SATURDAY, 3:33pm: The signing is official, the team announced.
MONDAY, 9:53am: The Pelicans are expected to sign James Ennis for the rest of the season after his 10-day contract expires, reports John Reid of The Times Picayune (Twitter link). That contract is up after Friday’s game against the Lakers. New Orleans is also reportedly poised to sign Jordan Hamilton until season’s end, with his 10-day deal having expired overnight. The moves will presumably come via the hardship provision, as the injury-racked Pelicans had 18 players, three above the regular season limit, until Hamilton’s 10-day ran out. The hardship prevents the team from tacking a non-guaranteed salary for next season onto the deal, so these will likely be true rest-of-season arrangements.
Ennis has played a prominent role for the Pelicans in three games so far, averaging 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.7 turnovers in 27.7 minutes per contest. Hot shooting has been a part of that, as he’s gone 8 for 15 from 3-point range. His 83 total minutes have already exceeded the 47 he saw between the Heat and Grizzlies earlier this season, though Memphis gave him extensive time with its D-League team. In any case, Ennis is showing some of the promise that made him the 50th overall pick in the 2013 draft, albeit in a small sample size.
The Pelicans have some exception money remaining, but presumably Ennis will receive the prorated minimum salary, which would give him $24,855. The rest-of-season deal will cover only three games, but it’ll have some lasting value for New Orleans, since it gives the team the chance to make him a restricted free agent and match offers for him this summer. The Pelicans would have to make him a qualifying offer worth $1,080,431 in order to do so.