The Clippers start a three-game road trip Wednesday and are not expected to have Reggie Jackson or Isaiah Hartenstein available for that Northeast swing.
In order to get their active roster back up to 12 available players, the Clippers are reportedly signing James Ennis to a 10-day hardship exemption contract, per Shams Charania. The 31-year-old forward just completed a hardship deal with the Brooklyn Nets, who were in Los Angeles as recently as Monday, and theoretically should be available to go against Boston Wednesday if he is already abiding by the league’s covid protocols.
Ennis is a Southern California native who grew up in Ventura and finished his collegiate career at Long Beach State. Funny enough, Ennis spent much of the offseason angling for the Lakers to sign him.
This is the third player the Clippers have signed to a hardship deal, including Moses Wright and Xavier Moon. Wright played one minute against Sacramento and Moon got mop-up duty for the entire fourth quarter against the Nets, but as a seven-year NBA veteran, there might be an opportunity for Ennis to earn some real rotation minutes. He is a career 36 percent three-point shooter and played 30 minutes in a win against the Clippers while with the Magic in March of this year.
In theory, the Clippers needed more help at point guard than any other position, with Eric Bledsoe as the only healthy lead guard on the roster. But getting another playable wing could move Luke Kennard into that role, and Ty Lue prefers a more democratic offense with everyone getting a chance to make plays anyway.
This signing doesn’t bode well for Jackson clearing the health and safety protocols soon, unless the Clippers just plan to cut Moon whenever Jackson is available. Either way, this is a great chance for a local product to make an impact for his hometown team.