Wayne Ellington may have finally found a home in the NBA. After bouncing around the league and playing for six teams from 2009-2015, he joined the Miami Heat prior to the 2016-17 season. He has enjoyed somewhat of a career revival since his arrival two seasons ago, including breaking the Miami Heat record for most three-pointers in a season. Last night it was announced the three-point specialist will return to the Heat for a third season.
ESPN Sources: Miami reaches agreement to re-sign sharpshooter Wayne Ellington. https://t.co/PBcqhAA0Kn— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 13, 2018
As the NBA continues to evolve and increase it’s emphasis on three-point shooting, Ellington has also evolved into an important commodity. Last season, Ellington averaged 11.2 points per game while shooting 39.2% from three. Both were career highs, as he became a pivotal rotation player on a playoff team.
He finished the year with 227 successful three point attempts, good for sixth most in the league. Only James Harden, Paul George, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, and Klay Thompson had more made attempts from behind the arc. Those five players were all-stars. Anyone who remembers Ellington’s heroics while at UNC are probably nodding and smirking at that impressive achievement.
As our Brandon Anderson explored in May, both sides were interested in continuing their relationship as the season came to an end. As with most things in life, the business side of the league complicated that possibility. With most teams strapped for cash, including the Heat who are over the luxury tax threshold, massive free-agent contracts are rare this offseason. Fortunately, both sides negotiated a mutually beneficial agreement.
Ellington agreed to a one year, $6.27 million contract that includes a no-trade clause. The Heat get a cap-friendly agreement with one of the league’s predominant sharpshooters, and Ellington can ensure he maintains stability for another year. That stability will be key for Ellington’s future employment options. Next summer’s free agent market is expected to be a high-spending affair. If Ellington can replicate (or improve) this past season’s accomplishments, he’ll have the ability to control the conditions of his future employment.
That will be a welcome change from his first decade as a journeyman in the league, and a long way from his days as the 2009 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
It’s hard to believe next season will be the 10-year anniversary of one of the most dominant NCAA champions of the past 30 years.