Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Nets re-sign Humphries
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets made their final big move in free agency, re-signing Kris Humphries to a two-year contract worth $24 million on Tuesday morning, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
Humphries, 27, averaged a career-high 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game for the Nets last season.
He is best known around the country for his failed 72-day marriage to Kim Kardashian.
On the court, however, he is best known for his rebounding ability and work ethic.
GM Billy King and assistant GM Bobby Marks have transformed the Nets into a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference, retaining Deron Williams (five years, $98 million), Gerald Wallace (four years, $40 million), Brook Lopez (four years, $60 million) and Humphries, while bringing in Joe Johnson (four years, $89 million), Mirza Teletovic (three years, $9 million), Reggie Evans (three years, $5 million), C.J. Watson (two years, veteran’s minimum) and Jerry Stackhouse (one year, $1.3 million). The team is also expected to re-sign Keith Bogans (likely veteran's minimum as well), according to reports.
The Nets can now look at bringing in a backup center to play behind Lopez if they so choose. A New York Daily News report said Brooklyn is talking to Nazr Mohammed about possibly filling that role. Darko Milicic’s name has also been mentioned as a possibility in reports.
WHY IT HAPPENED: It appeared that the Nets were ready to move on from Humphries and go in another direction. They were interested in Kevin Garnett and Ersan Ilyasova, but both players ended up re-signing with their respective teams. Humphries’ name was brought up frequently in blockbuster trade talks with the Magic for Dwight Howard. But by the time the Nets ended their pursuit of Howard and had finished up all their other moves, Humphries was the best option for them at power forward. The Nets had his Bird rights, so they could go over the salary cap to sign him.
While a lot will probably be made of the fact that the Nets seemingly overpaid him, remember, their owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is a multi-billionaire and doesn’t appear to care about paying the luxury tax.
Humphries had been playing on a one-year, $8 million contract in 2011-12, so he at least gets a little security, though he probably would’ve preferred a longer deal.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Nets will enter their first season in Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center with a starting lineup of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Humphries and Lopez. Their rotation is then likely to include Watson, MarShon Brooks, Teletovic, Evans and perhaps Bogans or whatever backup center they decide to sign -- assuming they sign one.
That’s a pretty darn good team. It’s going to take the Nets awhile to jell, and they may not be as good as Miami or Boston, but they’re going to be a fun team to watch.
DWIGHTMARE CONTINUED?: ESPN.com’s John Hollinger breaks down how the Humphries signing impacts the Nets’ possible future pursuit of Howard (again?!) here.