New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphries

Exclusive: Kris Humphries on Nets, fans

June, 4, 2012

Jerritt Clark/WireImage
Nets forward Kris Humphries and TV reality star Kim Kardashian were married for 72 days.

Brooklyn Nets power forward Kris Humphries is a man of few words.

"My focus has always been on my family, faith and my job," said Humphries, who doesn't talk to media before games or frankly anyone as he gets in the zone. "I don't really worry about what people think."

So when you get married to a reality star and get divorced in 72 days, your world seemingly turns upside down.

Continue reading in Playbook

Humphries wants to stay

April, 24, 2012
Even though they’re moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn next season, Kris Humphries wants to stay with the Nets.

“Of course,” Humphries replied when asked if he wants to re-sign with the Nets. “I think everyone wants to come back and be a part of Brooklyn. But we understand that we probably won’t have the same exact team as this year, so hopefully, as many guys as possible can be a part of it.”

The Nets, though, could be headed in another direction. Sources have told ESPN that the team will pursue free agents Kevin Garnett, Ryan Anderson and Ersan Ilyasova in the offseason.

Then again, they were trying to upgrade the power forward position in 2011-12, but ended up bringing Humphries back in as a fallback. Playing on a one-year, $8 million contract, the 27-year-old has averaged career-highs of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

The Nets expect to have around $8 million in cap space if Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace come back.

Nets Brooklyn bound: Will things change?

April, 23, 2012
For 86 years, the Red Sox had “The Curse of the Bambino.”

Since 1945, the Cubs have been -- as the legend goes -- cursed by a Billy Goat.

On July 1, 2010, the Nets put up a billboard that said “The Blueprint for Greatness,” featuring owners Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z.

It’s only been two years -- so it’s far from curse-worthy -- but nothing has gone their way ever since.

In the summer of 2010, the Nets were favored to win the lottery and get the No. 1 pick. They lost and got the No. 3 pick.

That same summer, the Nets tried to sign coveted free-agents LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. They ended up with Travis Outlaw, Anthony Morrow and Johan Petro.

During the season, the Nets tried and tried again to execute a blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony. But Melo wanted no part of New Jersey. So he was dealt to the Knicks, and GM Billy King countered by landing Deron Williams out of nowhere.

The Nets finally had their superstar -- with one huge caveat. Williams could opt out of his contract after the 2011-12 season and become a free agent. King knew this, so, following a 24-58 finish to the 2010-11 campaign, he decided to try and reel in a big man to pair with D-Will.

It didn’t work out. Top target Tyson Chandler went to the Knicks, and Nene elected to re-sign with the Nuggets, leaving New Jersey with a team short on talent once again.

Williams announced his intentions to opt out before the 2011-12 season started, and it only got worse from there.

The Nets failed to jell in training camp. And since then, they’ve been decimated by injuries. Brook Lopez, Damion James, Keith Bogans (waived), Jordan Farmar, Mehmet Okur (since traded) and Shawne Williams (since traded) were all lost to season-ending injuries, leaving D-Will without much help.

Coming into Monday night’s home-finale, the Nets had lost 238 manpower games due to injury, illness or personal reasons, an average of 3.7 players per game, and started 24 different lineups. They went just 9-24 at home this season, and struggled on defense and in first quarters. Several D-Leaguers have been called up. Only Gerald Green has been a pleasant surprise.

They thought they were going to land Dwight Howard, but it became one big “Dwightmare,” and D-12 opted to stay in Orlando because of “loyalty.”

King got Gerald Wallace from Portland -- a great all-around hustle player -- but had to sacrifice the team’s top-3 protected 2012 first-round draft pick to do so. The move was highly criticized, viewed as a risk for a franchise that has taken many and gotten burned just as many times. Now, the Nets (22-43) are tied for the sixth-worst record, meaning they only have a 6.3 percent chance of winning the lottery and getting the No. 1 overall pick.

After 35 years in New Jersey, the Nets are moving to Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center in 2012-13. Their slogan has been “Jersey Strong. Brooklyn Ready.”

Right now, the only guarantees for the franchise are a new building and that MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams are under contract.

Otherwise, the only certainty is a lot of uncertainty. Eleven of the 15 players on the Nets’ roster are eligible to be free agents in some capacity. Coach Avery Johnson mentioned several -- D-Will, Wallace, Kris Humphries, Lopez and Green -- by name when asked why New Jersey fans should follow the team to Brooklyn, but who knows if they will.

“After the season, guys are going to sit down with their families and decide what’s best for them realistically,” Brooks said after the Nets wrapped up their 35-year tenure in the Garden State with a 105-87 loss to the Sixers. “It’s a business. Whatever team we go to Brooklyn with, we’re going to have to be ready to play.”

The borough of Brooklyn hasn’t had a professional sports franchise since 1957, so there’s going to be a buzz around the Nets. But for how long?

A new building and new uniforms are all well and good, but the Nets must be competitive. And to be competitive, they have to re-sign Williams. He has said he intends to stay -- assuming the Nets put the right pieces around him. They haven’t yet. And even if they do, everything else has to fall into place.

If recent history is any indication, it won’t happen. In 3 1/2 decades, the New Jersey Nets went 1,186-1,635 (.420). And aside from the Jason Kidd era, they didn’t win anything.

Now, they’ll turn the page. Maybe, to avoid a future curse, they should’ve changed their name, too.

James makes Prudential Center his house

April, 16, 2012

Jim O'Connor/US Presswire
In the summer of 2010, the Nets were hopeful that LeBron James would be the bridge to Brooklyn.

Nearly two years later, James drew a massive crowd to one of the franchise's final home games in New Jersey.

Too bad he was playing for the other team.

In front of a pro-Heat contingent that chanted "MVP!" and "Let's Go Heat" all evening long, James stole the show -- and gave all 18,711 in attendance a heroic late-game performance they won't soon forget.

James scored the Heat's final 17 points and went on an 11-0 run in the closing minutes as Miami rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to topple the Nets for the 10th straight time, 101-98, on Monday night at Prudential Center.

"It was amazing, honestly," James said after scoring a game-high 37 points, dishing out seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. He also shot 11-for-19 from the field and 14-for-15 from the free-throw stripe.

"I give a lot of thanks to all the Heat fans that we have -- and all the Nets fans that rooted for us as well," James added. "Like I said at one point last year, I never thought I would hear 'Let’s Go Heat' on someone else's floor, so I'm happy to be a part of it, and thanks to the fans, it was great."

This won't happen once the Nets move to Brooklyn next season, right?

Those fans aren't going to cheer for so-called "villains," are they?

"I'm surprised. Where were those fans earlier when we were up?" wondered Nets power forward Kris Humphries, who scored a team-high 29 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

"They should've been screaming the whole game. Don't just show up when they get on top. That surprised me. If you're a Heat fan you should be screaming the whole game for them, even when they're down."

Some of the star-studded faces in the crowd included Jay-Z and Beyonce, Victor Cruz, Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Bart Scott, Antonio Cromartie, John Conner and Thierry Henry.

And they were all lucky enough to have courtside seats to the LeBron Show.

"As good as I remember," small forward Gerald Green said. "As good as a video game."

The Nets (22-40), sans All-Star point guard Deron Williams (sore right calf), lost their 13-point edge midway through the fourth quarter. But instead of folding, they countered.

Working out of a baseline isolation set, Humphries hit a turnaround fadeaway jumper from 13 feet to give his team a 95-88 lead with 2:28 left.

At that point, it was over. Well, it should've been.

Humphries split a pair of free throws with 2:06 remaining to make it 96-90. That's when James finally decided he’d had enough -- and put the Heat on his back.

First, he drove the lane and converted a three-point play at the 1:51 mark: 96-93.

Next, he went left to right and got a layup to go 25 seconds later: 96-95.

After that, James bodied up Humphries and finished with his left hand with 51 ticks left: 97-96.

It was the Heat's first lead of the game. It was the only one they needed.

An 8-footer made it 99-96. Two free throws made it 101-96.

The Nets still haven't beaten the Heat since March 20, 2009.

"I am at a loss for words," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "I don't know what to say.

"But I am so proud of our team. This is probably as proud as I have been of them all year."

If only D-Will was available in crunch time. The Nets missed three shots and had a turnover during James' decisive run.

"I wish he could've put on a uniform in the last two minutes of the game and come out and will us to win," Johnson said of Williams.

The Nets have just two home games left in the Garden State. Then it's on to Brooklyn they go.

They were hoping James would lead them there. But he took his talents to South Beach instead.

So the Nets are relegated to trying to convince Williams to be their bridge. They're building a beautiful $1 billion arena -- Barclays Center -- in a borough starving for the return of a professional sports franchise.

But without a superstar to win games and sell tickets, the excitement isn't going to last.

"It's not just about the building or the city we're going to, we gotta put a really good product on the floor," Johnson said.

James captivated their crowd on Saturday night -- the way they hope Williams will next season.

Rapid Reaction: Heat 101, Nets 98

April, 16, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: LeBron James would not be denied.

James scored 11 of the game's final 13 points, and the Heat rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Nets for the 10th straight time, 101-98 on Monday night at Prudential Center. The Nets haven't beaten the Heat since March 20, 2009.

James, who heard "MVP!" chants all night from the pro-Heat sellout crowd, finished with a game-high 37 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He also shot 11-for-19 from the field and 14-for-15 from the free-throw stripe in his final game ever in New Jersey. He scored the Heat's final 17 points.

Kris Humphries carried the Nets and finished with 29 points and eight rebounds. MarShon Brooks added 24 points, while Gerald Green had all 15 of his points in the second half. Green went 0-for-6 from the field in the opening 24 minutes.

The Nets (22-40) led by as many as 13 in the third quarter. They shot 50 percent.

TURNING POINT: The Heat trailed 96-90 with less than two minutes left. That's when James took over. He converted a three-point play, three layups -- including a left-handed one that gave the Heat the lead for good, 97-96 -- and a pair of free throws to put Miami up 101-96.

STARLESS: Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Dwayne Wade sat out with injuries. Williams has a sore right calf, while Wallace is nursing a strained hamstring that has kept him out the last four games. Both are considered day to day, but with just four games left on the schedule, it's unknown if they'll return before the end of the season.

EARLY EXPLOSION: Behind 14 points from Humphries and 11 from Brooks, the Nets tied a season-high with 34 first-quarter points. They allowed the Heat to shoot 70.6 percent in the opening period, but still led by five.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME:: Brooks got out in transition and fed Humphries for an emphatic, one-handed slam between two Heat defenders to give the Nets a 48-44 lead in the second quarter. Humphries was fired up after the play, and his teammates rose off the bench in admiration of his effort. Humphries later blocked Udonis Haslem's one-handed dunk attempt in the third.

NEW LOOK: Green and Jordan Williams both made their first starts of the season. The Nets have now started 23 different lineups in 2011-12, the most in the NBA.

WHO'S IN THE HOUSE?: Jay-Z, Beyonce, Victor Cruz, Justin Tuck, Antrel Rolle, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Bart Scott, Antonio Cromartie, John Conner, Thierry Henry and Bethenny Frankel.

UMMM ...The Nets put on a fireworks display during pregame introductions. It was a nice touch and all, but a grey fog -- which was really smoke -- loomed over the court for the first couple minutes of the game. Did anyone do a trial run beforehand?

UP NEXT: Knicks at Nets, Wednesday night, one final time in the Garden State.

Rapid Reaction: Wizards 108, Nets 89

March, 21, 2012
Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets lost their fourth straight game on Wednesday night -- but Deron Williams and Avery Johnson weren't around long enough to see the end. The point guard and coach were ejected during the third quarter of the Nets' 108-89 setback to the Wizards at Prudential Center. Wonder what Jay-Z thought. He was sitting next to the bench, after all. And the crowd chanted his name once the game was far out of reach.

The Nets are now 15-33 overall and 5-18 at home. Williams had all 17 of his points in the first half for the Nets. He added four assists and three rebounds, and shot 6-for-15 from the field. The Nets trailed by as many as 19, shot 36.9 percent from the floor and scored 36 points in the second half.

TURNING POINT: A 12-0 third-quarter run -- which included the ejections of both Williams and Johnson after Williams was upset about not getting a foul call on a drive to the basket -- gave the Wizards a commanding 78-64 lead.

HUMP DAY: Kris Humphries finished with his 21st double-double of the season, scoring 13 points while grabbing 16 rebounds.

G-EEZ: In his third game as a Net, Gerald Wallace scored 13 points and grabbed three rebounds, but opened up missing six of his first seven shots from the field and wound up connecting on just five of his 17 attempts.

NICE DEBUT: Nene, who was coveted by the Nets in free agent but ended up re-signing with the Nuggets before being traded to Washington at the deadline, had 22 points and 10 rebounds in his debut with the Wizards.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: D-Will split a pick-and-roll, faked a behind-the-back pass and finished a layup to tie the game at 48 in the second quarter.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: MarShon Brooks shot 2-for-9 from the field on Wednesday night. In his last six games, the rookie shooting guard is 17-for-58 from the field.

UP NEXT: Nets at Hawks, Friday night

Rapid Reaction: Nets 98, Raptors 84

March, 14, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: With Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline fast approaching, the Nets took care of business on Wednesday night, beating the Raptors 98-84 at Prudential Center to snap a two-game losing streak. They are now 5-15 at home, and 15-29 overall.

TURNING POINT: The Nets shot 57.9 percent in the third quarter and outscored the Raptors 27-15 in the period to turn a five-point halftime deficit into a 68-61 lead heading into the fourth.

HUMP DAY: Coming off a career-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance on Monday night, Kris Humphries recorded his team-leading 19th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points, grabbing a season-high 21 boards, blocking three shots and adding three steals. He had eight points and eight rebounds in the first quarter alone, and shot 7-for-18 from the field overall in 38 minutes.

GREEN MACHINE: Gerald Green continues to impress. The 26-year-old wing dropped in a game-high 26 points -- 16 in the fourth -- in 25 minutes off the bench on 9-for-13 shooting and 7-for-9 from the free throw stripe.

NEED YOU, D-WILL: Deron Williams missed his third straight game with a strained right calf, and is still day to day. In his place, backup Jordan Farmar had five turnovers and just three assists.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: Humphries' fast-break, one-handed slam that tied the score at 6 early in the first quarter.

STAT OF THE GAME: The Nets' benched combined for 61 points. Their starters had 37.

UP NEXT: Nets at Magic, Friday night. Question is: What uniform will Dwight Howard be wearing?

Latest on D-12

March, 13, 2012
It appears that the Nets remain in the driver’s seat for Dwight Howard -- but they may not be getting the Magic center by Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

The latest from’s Ric Bucher is that the Nets are still at the top of Howard’s wish list, and he’s content to play out the season in Orlando.

That would benefit the Nets because they wouldn’t have to sacrifice assets like Brook Lopez (restricted), MarShon Brooks and their two first-round picks in the 2012 draft to get him.

The Magic are still hopeful they’ll be able to retain Howard, and, according to Bucher, are willing to go as far as to allow him to pick a new coach and GM for the team, something Orlando has refuted. They are also trying to acquire a difference-maker that would help convince him to stay.

But with just a couple days remaining before the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline, that appears unlikely since the Magic don’t have assets that other teams want.

The Nets are in great position to land Howard because they’re moving to Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center. And getting Howard would almost certainly convince Deron Williams to re-sign.

The Nets have reportedly explored adding Boris Diaw’s $9 million expiring contract in an effort to clear more cap space for the summer of 2012.

A league source told ESPN there wasn’t much truth to those reports, which had Jordan Farmar ($4.25 million player option for 2012-13), Johan Petro ($3.5 million ’12-13) and Houston’s lottery-protected first heading to Charlotte.

But it wouldn’t be surprising if the Nets made a move like that to clear as much cap space as possible, knowing they’re going to have to fit D-Will’s max (he’s expected to opt out like D-12), Howard’s max and Lopez’s raise -- assuming everything works out.

The Nets only guaranteed commitments for 2012-13 are Anthony Morrow ($4 million), Petro ($3.5), Brooks ($1.1 million) and Jordan Williams (762K). Like Farmar, Shawne Williams has a player option ($3.1 million).

The contracts of Mehmet Okur ($10.9 million), Kris Humphries ($8 million), DeShawn Stevenson ($2.5 million), Damion James ($1.2 million), Shelden Williams ($992K) and Sundiata Gaines ($854K) are all expiring and will come off the books.

Humphries' career night goes to waste

March, 12, 2012
Kris Humphries can never be accused of failing to give maximum effort on the court.

"After games, he's totally exhausted," Nets coach Avery Johnson said after his 27-year-old power forward scored a career-high 31 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked three shots over 42 minutes in Monday night's 105-99 loss to the Bucks.

"He leaves it all out there on the floor. He's a great example of just playing until your dead tired."

AP Photo/Mel EvansKris Humphries

In 40 games with the Nets this season, Humphries has logged 1,394 minutes and 44 seconds, and ranks second on the team to point guard Deron Williams in minutes per contest (34:52).

"It wasn't tough [Monday night]," said Humphries, who became just the fifth Net since 1985-86 to go for 31 and 18 in a single game. "But on back-to-backs it's pretty tough."

Sure is. But you wouldn't know it watching Humphries.

On Monday night, he was a beast on the interior. Humphries, who shot 11-for-15 from the field and 9-for-12 from the free throw line, recorded 13 points and six rebounds in the first quarter, and by the end of the first half he had amassed his 18th double-double of the season: 21 points and 10 boards.

"He got off to a good start and was real focused," Johnson said. "Guys started going to him early and he made some really incredible blocks. He's playing on both ends of the floor."

On Feb. 19, Humphries was outplayed by Milwaukee hybrid forward Ersan Ilyasova, who scored 29 points and grabbed an NBA season-high-tying 25 rebounds. Humphries was determined not to let "Turkish Thunder" go "Ersane" again.

"He played great last time," Humphries said. "I wanted to make sure he didn't come out and get momentum and have that kind of night."

Ilyasova didn't, scoring just four points and snagging three boards in 24 minutes.

The Nets (14-29, 4-15 home) went right at him from the opening possession, getting Humphries a look in the post, and he got a 5-foot hook to go. That set the tone for what should've been a different outcome had the Nets not turned the ball over nine times in the third quarter and allowed Milwaukee (18-24) to go on a 17-2 run spanning the end of the third to the early part of the fourth, which turned a nine-point lead into a six-point deficit.

Humphries' highlight of the evening was his steal and slam that gave the Nets a 48-36 edge in the second quarter. He scooped up a loose ball and went coast-to-coast, taking it himself on a 2-on-1 fast break and finishing with a rim-rocking, one-handed jam.

"I got it, I just pushed it out, and then I was looking for someone and I realized, there's only one guy back. And it got to the point where he [wasn't] gonna take the charge, so I just said, 'Let me try and dunk this,'" Humphries said. "It worked out."

Humphries signed a one-year, $8 million contract in the offseason, so he could be a candidate to be dealt by Thursday's NBA trading deadline. But he has veto power because he'd have to give up his Bird Rights in order to be moved.

Using a bridge analogy after Monday's morning shootaround, Humphries (13.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg) essentially said he'd be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the situation was right. And there's plenty of contenders who would love to have a player of his ilk.

But for now, he’s a Net, and Johnson and Humphries' teammates aren't going to complain about that.

Rapid Reaction: Bucks 105, Nets 99

March, 12, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Kris Humphries' career night went to waste. The Nets' power forward had a career-high 31 points and pulled down 18 rebounds, but his team blew a 12-point lead and fell to the Bucks, 105-99 on Monday night at Prudential Center. The Nets are now 14-29 overall, 4-15 at home and have lost two games in a row.

TURNING POINT: The Bucks closed the third quarter on a 9-0 run, then scored eight of the first 10 points of the fourth to turn a nine-point deficit into a six-point lead.

ADVANTAGE, KRIS: For Humphries, it was his 18th double-double this season. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone. He finished 11-for-15 from the field and 9-for-12 from the free throw line in 41 minutes. Counterpart Ersan Ilyasova, who torched the Nets to the turn of 29 points and 25 rebounds in their last meeting, had just four points and three rebounds in 24 minutes.

FILLING IN: Starting for the second straight game in place of Deron Williams (strained right calf, day to day), backup point guard Jordan Farmar struggled, shooting just 7-for-18 from the field and getting abused by Brandon Jennings (34 points, seven rebounds, seven assists).

DOUBLE-G: Gerald Green hit his first three shots, but went just 1-for-8 the rest of the way, finishing with 11 points. He did rise high above the rim for an alley-oop jam.

STARTING STRONG: The Nets made seven of their first 10 shots, shot 50 percent in the first quarter and led 32-27. Humphries had 13 points and six rebounds in the opening period.

BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: Hump got a steal, went coast-to-coast and finished off a powerful one-handed slam on the other end that gave the Nets a 48-36 lead in the second quarter.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Nets went 4-for-17 from 3-point range.

CHAMPS ARE HERE: Super Bowl champions Justin Tuck and Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants sat courtside.

UP NEXT: Nets vs. Raptors, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Would Hump jump off a bridge (at a trade)?

March, 12, 2012
The NBA trading deadline looms on Thursday.

Nets power forward Kris Humphries has an expiring $8 million contract and could be a candidate to be dealt, but he’d have to approve the trade first. Because he signed a one-year deal in the offseason, Humphries would have to give up his Bird Rights if dealt, therefore giving him veto-power.

Humphries said he hasn’t really thought about the possibility of being traded, and hasn’t been asked. But in a round-about way -- and using a bridge analogy -- he said he would waive his no-trade if the situation was right.

“Would you jump off a bridge? Depends on how high the water is. Depends on if there’s a drowning baby in there ... I mean, would you jump off in the summer if you knew the water was warm?” Humphries said. “I don’t know. It’s all circumstantial. ... It might be the Golden Gate Bridge in some situations. in some situations it might be water hole in wherever where it’s warm and deep.”

The 27-year-old is enjoying a career season, averaging 13.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

• Bucks hybrid 3/4 Ersan Ilyasova torched the Nets to the tune of 29 points and 25 rebounds the last time the two teams met in February.

“He’s been playing off the charts,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. He’s doing it to everybody. He just puts everybody in a bind.”

Ilyasova, a candidate for Most Improved Player, is averaging 12.4 points and 8.9 rebounds.

In his last three games, he’s scored 32, 26 and 31 points.

“We just have to keep him off the glass,” Humphries said.

• Shooting guard Anthony Morrow said he watched small forward Gerald Green’s windmill alley-oop dunk 20 times Sunday.

Johnson said he’s “flatlining” with Green, meaning he doesn’t want to get too high or low based on how the tenacious 26-year-old plays.

Green had a season-high 26 points in Saturday night’s loss to Houston. In seven games with the Nets, he’s averaging 8.9 points.

The Nets have to decide if they want to keep Green for the entire season or let him go by March 18.

Unless they do something drastic at the deadline, though, it’s likely he’s staying put.

• With point guard Deron Williams still day to day and sidelined by a strained right calf, Johnson said the Nets are going to have to mix up their defensive coverages and possibly go to more zone. Backup Jordan Farmar may be able to impact the game offensively, but his defense leaves much to be desired.

• Green’s 26 points are the most by a D-League callup this season. ... The Nets have used a league-high 18 different starting lineups in 2011-12 ... Center Johan Petro made his first career 3-pointer against Miami on March 6 and now is 1-for-9 from beyond the arc in six-plus NBA seasons.

Obscure rule gives Hump right to block deal

March, 1, 2012
Who is Devean George?

Well, he was a bench player who stuck around in the NBA for 11 seasons and won three rings with the Lakers.

He is also known for vetoing a blockbuster trade on Feb. 14, 2008, that would've sent Jason Kidd from New Jersey to Dallas.

Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesDevean George

Huh? How the heck? He never had a no-trade clause in his contract, did he?

No. But because he was on a one-year contract, George's "Bird Rights" were not transferable to another team. Bird Rights allow a team to go over the salary cap to sign a player and also -- in some cases -- allow that player to earn more money by re-signing with his current team. "Full Bird Rights" are earned after a player plays three-plus years with the same team, while "Early Bird Rights" are earned after two years.

George would've lost his Bird Rights by accepting the trade, so the league requires player consent on such transactions.

The Kidd trade eventually got done obviously, but George wasn't in it. He even stayed with the Mavericks for the 2008-09 season -- his penultimate year in the league.

So what does all of that have to do with the Nets? Well, Thursday, March 1, marks the first day that players signed in 2011 are eligible to be traded.

For the Nets, that means the expiring contracts of Kris Humphries, Mehmet Okur ($10.9 million), DeShawn Stevenson ($2.5 million) Shelden Williams ($1 million) can all be moved.

Humphries signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Nets prior to the start of the season, and, as a result, has the same veto power that George had four years ago.

The 27-year-old has been playing the best basketball of his career, averaging career highs of 13.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He’s overcome boos and a failed celebrity marriage, and is one of the most underrated power forwards in the league.

But if the Nets are going to take on Dwight Howard's $17.9 million contract in a blockbuster prior to the March 15 deadline -- which is in exactly two weeks, by the way -- and other bad contracts, i.e. Chris Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu, Humphries' deal would serve as valuable cap filler in a trade.

Maybe none of this will matter. Maybe the Nets and Magic won't be able to agree on a trade. Maybe Howard will be dealt elsewhere. Maybe the Nets don't have to take on those bad contracts and can get it done without Humphries' inclusion. Maybe this is all meaningless when Howard signs with a team -- maybe the Nets -- in the offseason. But it's something to watch out and prepare for in case it happens.

And don’t blame Humphries if the Nets ask for his consent and he says no. It's his right. It's in the rules. And he didn't write them.

Special thanks to Larry Coon, CBA guru from, for his help with this blog.

Nets' midseason report card

February, 24, 2012
Call it a "process." Call it a "Dwightmare." Call it "the end of an error." Call it whatever you want. The point is, the Nets' final season in New Jersey has been an utter disaster.

Decimated by injuries, a lack of continuity and a flawed roster, the Nets have struggled mightily in the first half of the season, and enter the All-Star break with a 10-25 record -- third-worst in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn is the Nets' destination next season, but the future remains uncertain. Will Deron Williams stay? Will Dwight Howard end up with the Nets via trade or free agency?

For now, coach Avery Johnson isn't concerned. Most nights he doesn't even know who he's going to start. Consider: The Nets have used 17 different starting lineups this season -- more than any other team in the NBA. Also consider: The Nets have been plagued by poor starts all season, and are 4-19 when trailing after the first quarter. Oh, and they've struggled to a 3-13 record at the Prudential Center.

Now on to the grades. Check them out here.

Lin seeks out Hump, calls boos 'unfair'

February, 21, 2012
Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin sought out Nets power forward Kris Humphries after the Nets’ 100-92 victory on Monday night to tell Humphries that he thought the boos directed at him by the crowd at the Garden were “unfair,” according to’s Rachel Nichols.

“Now that’s a good dude,” Humphries told Nichols.

The Nets spawned “Linsanity” on Feb. 4. The Garden crowd spawned the “Everybody Hates Kris” campaign on Dec. 21 during the preseason, when they booed Humphries vociferously every time he touched the ball.

The 27-year-old says the boos are motivation, and it certainly showed on Monday night, when he notched another double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

At this point, the boos have mostly died down -- but they’ve continued at the Garden.

The irony in this whole situation is, Humphries isn’t being booed for anything he’s doing on the court. He was married to Kim Kardashian for 72 days. It didn’t work out. But it’s in the past. Hump has moved on. Isn’t it time for the fans to do the same?

PHEW: Those four teeth shooting guard Anthony Morrow lost? Don’t worry. They’re temporary.

Morrow lost them on Jan. 6 in Toronto. He was actually supposed to have a dentist appointment on Tuesday afternoon, but it got moved up to the morning, according to reports.

“Y'all, i just got reconstructive work done I didn't just lose 4 teeth,” Morrow tweet at around 11 a.m. Tuesday

The greater concern is why a travel was called on that particular play, when Morrow got elbowed in the mouth by Carmelo Anthony.

Credit to Morrow for gutting it out, though. The Knicks got within eight in the fourth quarter, but Morrow ended a 3 minute, 1 second scoring drought with one of the biggest buckets of the game, a 14-footer from the baseline with 5:41 left that put the Nets ahead 87-77. And Hump’s three-point play 40 seconds later made it a 13-point Nets’ lead. They were able to survive from there.

BIG PICTURE: A couple big picture quotes from D-Will didn’t make it in my column. Here they are anyway:

“We still need to get some guys in here if we’re going to be a better team. There’s no doubt about that. We’re 10-24 right now. So we have to get some better players. But I think everything will work out. It takes some time to put it together,” Williams said.

Williams added that he was “comfortable” with the direction of the franchise.

[After the season], I’m sure I’ll have a conversation with GM Billy [King] and ownership, and go from there.”

LIN-FERIOR: Lin still got his -- he finished with 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds -- but give the Nets’ defense credit for forcing him into a 7-for-18 shooting night. Their bigs packed the paint, and kept him out of it a bit. If Nets’ fans haven’t watched Lin before, they probably figured two things out: 1. He’s definitely for real and 2. He’s much less effective going left than right.

OF NOTE: Center Brook Lopez will go through a hard workout on Tuesday before returning to the lineup and playing on Wednesday night against the Magic. ... The Nets were outscored 40-20 in the paint and 20-11 on the fastbreak, but won the rebounding battle, 46-42, and went 21-for-29 from the free throw stripe. ... A Barclays Center spokesman said Tuesday that construction of $1 billion arena remains on schedule for its Sept. 28 opening.

Avery: 'We had no energy'

February, 8, 2012

Nets point guard Deron Williams caught fire in the second half of Wednesday night’s game against the Pistons.

Too bad he couldn’t find his shooting stroke earlier.

Williams scored 27 of his game-high 34 points in the second half and the Nets cut an 18-point third-quarter deficit down to one in the final period, but they were unable to get over the hump and suffered their fourth straight loss, 99-92, to the Pistons at Prudential Center.

After the game, Nets coach Avery Johnson ripped into his team for its lack of energy in the first half. The Nets opened up 3-for-16 from the field, missed their first nine 3-pointers and shot 34.2 in the opening 24 minutes as they allowed the Pistons to outscore them 31-19 in the second quarter and take a 51-39 lead into the break.

“We had no energy,” Johnson said. “We have to do a better job of having more energy in the first half. We can’t play one half and beat teams. We need to generate more energy in this building, and we just didn’t have it [Wednesday].”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

All season-long the Nets have been doomed by poor starts. Wednesday night’s game was just the latest example -- and as a result, the Nets (8-19) fell to an inferior opponent.

“It’s definitely one we let split away and we’d love to get it back, but we play these guys again in their building on Friday,” said Williams, who went 1-for-5 from the field in the first half.

The Nets fell behind 64-46 with 7:44 left in the third quarter, but ripped off a 31-14 run capped by a four-point play from Williams to pull within 78-77 at the 8:28 mark of the fourth. But the Pistons countered with six straight points -- two layups and a dunk -- to regain command. Williams hit four of his career-high tying six 3-pointers in the final stanza and finished with 17 points in the period, but it wasn’t enough.

“It’s another tough loss at home,” said Williams after his team fell to 3-9 at The Rock. “We’ve been struggling there all season, failing to find our shot and our rhythm. It’s really hard to win games when you’re shooting in the [40 percent] range.”

It’s even harder when you allow the NBA’s lowest scoring team to shoot 53.4 percent, outscore you in the paint, 50-24, and on the fastbreak, 14-2.

“I’m not gonna complain about the arena,” said Williams, who came in shooting 39.2 percent there and has already done plenty of that. “There’s no excuse for losing at home and losing games. We gotta play better.

“We needed more energy, we needed to play together and with more enthusiasm,” Williams said.

They didn’t. Williams scored 30-plus points for the fourth time this season, power forward Kris Humphries pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds and backup point guard Jordan Farmar poured in 16 points in the third quarter, but the Nets wasted all of that.

And making matters worse, shooting guard Keith Bogans’ may be lost for a while after injuring his foot on power forward Greg Monroe’s reverse dunk with 2:27 left. Johnson said he’ll undergo an MRI on Wednesday.

“It’s not looking great,” Johnson said. “It’s real tough when we’re screaming like 50 times, don’t let Monroe to go left. He’s a left-handed player. He has two left hands, so we’re screaming don’t allow him to go left, but he still goes left and dunks on us, and as a result, Bogans gets tangled up inside and comes down wrong.”

Great. Injury to insult. The last thing the Nets need is another excuse -- even if it’s a legitimate one.

Enough is enough already.



Joe Johnson
15.7 3.6 0.8 35.6
ReboundsM. Plumlee 6.8
AssistsD. Williams 6.3
StealsJ. Jack 1.1
BlocksB. Lopez 1.7