Philadelphia 76ers forward James Ennis III joined the Sixers at the trade deadline last season, but he planned on sticking around once free agency began.
Ennis spoke to media Thursday, and he said that he had planned on coming back to play with the Sixers, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. Ennis was an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he signed a two-year deal with the Sixers in July.
“I always wanted to come back here,” Ennis said. “I had a couple teams offering me, but it’s about long term and I wanted to come back to Philly and play with Ben (Simmons), Joel (Embiid), and all the guys.”
Ennis was a key player for the Sixers’ bench last season, particularly in the playoffs. He averaged 7.5 points per game on 48.4% shooting from the field in the postseason, and he was the Sixers’ leading scorer off the bench.
With Ennis referencing long term as a reason for returning, perhaps that shows how he’s confident the Sixers will be a top team in the East for the next few years. In July, Ennis spoke about Philly’s outlook for next season, saying the Sixers are “going to walk to the Finals in the East.”
Ennis’ positivity about the Sixers’ upcoming season can help boost morale for the team. Though the Sixers haven’t gotten past the second round of the playoffs the past two seasons, they have an improved bench that Ennis will help lead.
And with the additions of Al Horford and Josh Richardson, the Sixers are primed to be atop the East along with the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.