Much to the chagrin of some, Kris Humphries is actually a pretty good basketball player. His reputation has been soured in the eyes of many NBA fans because of tabloid material and a ridiculous contract the Brooklyn Nets gave him but when given a substantial role Humphries has put up solid numbers. Despite never having a spot in the Boston Celtics rotation he could get comfortable with, Humphries had very impressive per 36 minute stats last season (15.1 pts, 10.2 rbs, 50.1%FG). Numbers similar to those during his time in New Jersey/Brooklyn, where he played himself to a 2-year, $24 million contract. You could argue that Humphries was the Celtics best, or at least most consistent, player last season night-to-night.
There’s a reason Jay didn’t drop him from the team. And there’s a reason the Celtics, as well as a handful of other teams, are interested in him.
Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe first reported the news.
The #celtics are one of 5 teams that have reached out to FA Kris Humphries, according to NBA source. LAC, DAL, MIN and MIA also interested
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) July 4, 2014
Looking at the Celtics payroll after the Avery Bradley extension, Kris Humphries may very well be the best player the Celtics can afford to sign. If one of the teams mentioned by Washburn above is going to throw Humphries a contract anywhere near $6 million a year the Celtics will likely be forced to pursue, or not pursue, other options. We also won’t know what kind of money the Clippers, Heat, and Mavericks will be willing to part with until the dust settles on free agency a bit and the bigger names find their landing spots. But if Humphries’ market dries up and he’s looking at something like a 2 or 3 year deal in the $3.5-$4 million a year range, the Celtics would be wise to consider pouncing.
Humphries, 29, is as good of a rebounder as Jared Sullinger (17.9%, 16.9% career TRB% respectively). He’s more effective from the mid-range than Kelly Olynyk (Humphries: 42.6% 10′-16′, 47.9% 16′<3pt. Olynyk: 35.6% 10′-16′, 34.7% 16′<3pt). He’s a significantly better post defender than either of the two. Sullinger and Olynyk obviously have more untapped potential at this point but it’s unlikely either are ever going to develop into a plus-starter at their position. Humphries makes the Celtics a better team right now and could play a role 2-3 years downy he road. Again, he’s 29.
Cynical folk believe one of the reasons Humphries didn’t get many minutes last season is because he probably would’ve given the Celtics a couple more wins.
The other thing to consider with Kris Humphries is his value as a trade chip if you get him on a bargain or a one-year deal. Not only could he be a minor piece in a potential blockbuster, but Humphries could prove valuable to a contender in need of a big body at the trade deadline (Clippers, Heat). He could fetch you a draft pick.
This is all speculation until we figure out exactly how much the Celtics can spend and what Humphries’ market really is. But if the numbers match up, Danny Ainge would be wise to consider bringing Humphries back to Boston.