EL SEGUNDO – Like everyone else, Tyler Ennis found out on Twitter.
Ennis was in his hotel room on Thursday morning in New Orleans, after the Houston Rockets had returned from their morning shootaround and before the NBA trade deadline hit. He was scrolling through the social-media application on his phone when a handful of notifications arrived with news.
The 22-year-old guard had been dealt to the Lakers.
“It was a quick turnaround from there,” Ennis said.
The itinerary followed with a short return flight to Houston later in the day.
On Friday, he flew to Los Angeles.
On Saturday, he joined the Lakers for his first practice with the team.
Ennis had prepared to be traded for most of the past week. His name had circulated in trade rumors, along with other teammates, including Corey Brewer, a veteran forward who came to the Lakers in a separate deal for Lou Williams.
The Toyota Sports Center was not an unfamiliar sight. He was at the Lakers’ facility for pre-draft workouts three years ago.
“It feels like I was here yesterday,” he said.
This will be his fourth NBA team in his third season. The Syracuse product was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2014 draft.
“I’ve been traded, I’ve been on different teams, winning teams, losing teams,” he said, “so I’ve seen a lot in my couple years in the league.”
But with Houston, he was averaging a career-low 6.3 minutes per game.
On the Lakers, he will come off the bench and see a chance for more minutes. How much remains unclear.
Asked what kind of role he expected the reserve point guard to have, Coach Luke Walton said, “It’s too early right now,” before adding, “we definitely want to get him out there and give him some opportunities and some chances.”
Ennis could see somewhat of an audition with the Lakers over the final two months of the regular season, starting Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
One reason, an ESPN report published later Saturday said that the Lakers were looking at the possibility of buying out the contract of backup point guard Jose Calderon, thereby releasing him and creating another opening in the backcourt rotation.
Ennis said he felt he already had a good relationship with Walton, who contacted him by phone Thursday shortly after the trade.
“That made me feel a lot more comfortable,” Ennis said, “and I think just giving guys the freedom that he gives and me being a point guard that can make plays, I think it’s going to go hand in hand.”
Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame guard who was named the Lakers’ president of basketball operations last week, sat behind the team’s bench during the loss Friday night against the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
His presence was felt.
“He’s one of those people that when he’s sitting two rows up, you notice him,” Walton said. “I enjoy it. I like it.”
It was the first game the Lakers had played since the All-Star break and since Johnson began heading the front office.
But Walton said the arrival of Johnson would not impact how he coaches the team.
“We have our vision and our goal with what we’re trying to do,” Walton said. “We’ve had great talks. It’s one of the great things about working with Magic. He’s said multiple times he’s not going to come down here and try to coach. Coaching is my job and my staff’s job. Why would he, in his job, try to come down here and tell us how to coach and what he thinks we should do? We’re doing the same stuff down here. We definitely bounce ideas off each other, what he sees. Of course I value the opinion of someone who is one of the all-time greats in this game. But it’s not going to change how we coach the team.”
Lakers assistant Brian Shaw was chatting with some players after practice Saturday. Shaw had not traveled with the team during its trip to Oklahoma City because he was sick.
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