The Nets signed Kris Humphries this offseason to a two-year deal worth $24 million under the assumption that he’d be Brooklyn’s starting power forward for at least one season, keeping his value high enough to flip him as an expiring contract worth $12 million in the 2013-14 season.
Unfortunately for the Nets, Humphries crashed and burned in the worst season (relative to expectation) of his career, losing his starting spot within 20 games to Reggie Evans, who averaged 1.9 points per game in the previous season.
He averaged fewer shots per 36 minutes than in any other season of his career and shot well worse than his career average from the field. He had the worst impact on the team’s defense of any rotation player, as the team allowed 106.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
The Nets tried literally anything besides him. P.J. Carlesimo even benched him for three weeks under the guise of “giving Mirza Teletovic a look,” which he could’ve done without benching Kris Humphries completely.
It wasn’t just his worst season on the court. Humphries suffered through an increasingly public, nasty divorce to a woman who would disgrace my ethnicity if I ever admitted we shared one. Opponents literally attacked him. His cousin demanded the team trade him from his Twitter account.
His lift disappeared, his ability to score waned, and he increasingly looked like an odd man out in a rotation that desperately needed a starting-quality power forward.
Brooklyn’s options only extend as far as the interest Humphries will garner, which after the season he had, can’t be much. The cards seem stacked in favor of Humphries never seeing the floor in a Brooklyn uniform again. But where could he go?
The Nets reportedly weren’t interested in trading him for Bobcats guard Ben Gordon. They have expressed interest before in Andrei Kirilenko, and Deron Williams recently spent time with the Timberwolves forward. But unless Kirilenko suddenly demands out of Minnesota, a one-for-one deal doesn’t make much sense from Minnesota’s perspective.
The likely move for Brooklyn is a forward signed to a long-term contract that a team won’t want to pay, one that’s within range of Humphries’s $12 million salary.
Carlos Boozer? A member of the organization told me the Nets floated the idea of sending Humphries plus prospects to the Chicago Bulls for Boozer at the trade deadline, but the deal never materialized due to lack of interest on both sides. It’s possible that talks could resurface, but Boozer is an awful defender under Tom Thibodeau. How’s he going to look with anyone else?
David Lee? The Golden State Warriors played well in the playoffs mostly without the double-double machine, who averaged 18.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per 36 minutes this season. Lee is owed a little under $45 million over the next three years, and his expiring contract coincides with the rest of Brooklyn’s starting 5. But Lee is a scoring forward who struggles on the defensive end — not exactly someone who will fit well with Lopez.
No one else immediately jumps to mind. Portland won’t deal Nicolas Batum or LaMarcus Aldridge. Amare Stoudemire played 29 games this season and 0 on defense. I’m intrigued by Thaddeus Young, who makes $28 million over the next three years (the last an early termination option for $9.9 million), but Philadelphia has shown no interest in Humphries in the past.
But if they’re not going to play Kris Humphries, and he’s not going to play well, his most desirable trait is the fact that he comes off the books next year. That doesn’t help Brooklyn much, but it should help someone else.
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