Jarnell Stokes inks with Miami HEAT for NBA Return

By Matt Dykstra | August 28, 2018

The 2016 NBA G League MVP is getting another chance to prove his worth in the NBA. This time, NBA journeyman Jarnell Stokes has signed a training camp deal with the Miami HEAT heading into the 2018-19 season.

Fresh off of an NBA G League Championship, Stokes signed with the Denver Nuggets and made the opening day roster at the start of the 2016-17 season. His stint with Denver got off to a quick start, but was put to an end by a foot fracture just three games into the season. The Nuggets proceeded to waive Stokes just days later.

After missing the entire season, Stokes jumped back onto the NBA scene with strong performances with both the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers during the 2017 NBA Summer Leagues in Orlando and Las Vegas. Unfortunately, his efforts failed to earn him a training camp invite. Stokes opted for a season with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 25.0 points and 13.9 rebounds in 28 appearances.

The 24-year-old prospect signed with the Chicago Bulls this July for what was his fifth NBA Summer League appearance, averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in just 10 minutes per game off the bench. This time, Stokes landed in familiar territory.

Stokes’ first visit to South Beach ended somewhat abruptly. After spending much of the first half of the 2015-16 season playing on assignment in Sioux Falls, the HEAT cut ties with him completely at the trade deadline. Though he took advantage of his time in a Skyforce uniform by bringing the team a title, an NBA destiny seemed inevitable at that time.

Now two seasons later, Stokes’ new resolve is to do whatever it takes to work his way back to the NBA, where he knows he belongs. The undersized big man is used to having to outwork his competition to be effective, and he’ll carry that mindset into training camp as he seeks to resurrect his young career.

Though he’s played for three NBA teams and has toured China in the first four years of his professional career, Stokes doesn’t turn 25 until January, and has a lot left in the tank.