NBA PM: Kris Humphries Returns to Nets
A year ago at this time, not many people knew who Kris Humphries was. He had led the Big 10 in scoring and rebounding as a freshman at Minnesota; he was a lottery pick by the Utah Jazz in 2004. Humphries even beat Olympian Michael Phelps in a few swimming events as a child. Still, it took a breakout 2010-2011 NBA season, a brief marriage to Kim Kardashian and a subsequent stint on a reality television show to make Humphries a household name.
Now Humphries has some more bread to go with that fame, as HOOPSWORLD has confirmed Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the power forward has agreed re-sign with the Nets for a one-year deal worth between $7 million and $8 million. Sources told HOOPSWORLD that it’s probably closer to $8 million and that Humphries will officially sign on Wednesday. The fact that this is a one-year deal means the general manager Billy King did not compromise any future cap flexibility so he’ll have plenty of money to offer Dwight Howard next summer.
Humphries reportedly was looking for a multi-year deal worth around $10 million annually, but when the market didn’t bite, he apparently settled for one more season in New Jersey.
Originally Humphries was drafted for his offense, but he’s spent the past few years becoming significantly better at rebounding and defense. He finished fourth in the NBA in rebounding rate (percentage of missed shots that a player rebounds) last season and was routinely praised for his pick-and-roll defense, which is a must for NBA defenses nowadays.
Humphries’ presence also moves Shelden Williams to the bench, which makes the Nets a significantly deeper team.
Speaking of the Nets’ Depth
When Anthony Morrow wasn’t playing shooting guard last season, it was either a point guard like Jordan Farmar or a small forward like Stephen Graham that stepped into the void for the Nets. Needless to say, that position wasn’t a strength for New Jersey.
Now, after landing first-round pick MarShon Brooks in a draft-day deal with the Celtics, the Nets have some options at the 2. In Morrow, the team has a sharp-shooting guard who can spread the floor; and in Brooks, the Nets have a slasher who can cause defenses to collapse the paint.
Brooks, who once scored 52 points against the ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish as a senior at Providence, is still working on his own jump shot. He improved his field goal shooting to 48.3% as a senior, but never really found much consistency from beyond the 3-point arc.
However Nets coach Avery Johnson is giving Brooks the green light, telling reporters that he doesn’t mind a bad shot from the rookie as long as he remains aggressive.
“He pulled me in his office and we watch my missed shots after practice,” Brooks told HOOPSWORLD of Johnson. “He says, ‘You missed this, but this is a good shot.’ I was like, ‘okay.’ One I was falling away with (Damion James) on me, but he didn’t mind. He doesn’t mind what kind of shots I take as long as I bring energy to the floor on the defensive end. I think that’s his main focus.”
The Nets’ cross-Hudson rivals, the New York Knicks, added a 6-5 rookie of their own in the draft, but Brooks says he doesn’t need Iman Shumpert to push him.
“Me and Shumpert are real tough competitors,” Brooks said after scoring 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting against the Knicks in Saturday’s preseason game. “We’re going to go out there and compete regardless. Yeah, it crosses my mind sometimes, but I feel like we were brought in for two totally different reasons.”
Shumpert, who scored 16 points and played solid defense for the Knicks on Saturday, is more of a distributor. Brooks on the other hand is a pure swingman who might even be pressed into duty at small forward when the Nets go to their two-point guard set.
“I don’t mind,” Brooks said. “In college sometimes I lined up at the 4. I’m just going to play tough. If it’s a bigger guy on me, I’m just going to make him work. This league, sometimes there’s going to be matchup problems, things like that. You just got to try and make these players work.”
The same two teams play again on Wednesday night, so fans should play close attention to how Brooks interacts with point guard Deron Williams. The more trust he builds now, the more he can contribute over the course of the season.
Check Out: Paul Allen
Paul Allen’s tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers can’t be summed up in one interview, but The Oregonian’s Jason Quick came pretty close on Tuesday. The “other” genius behind Microsoft discusses the firing of Richard Cho as well as the job Chad Buchanan has done in the Blazers front office. Allen also touches upon his health (which is thankfully improved) and he even comments on the bizarre 2010 NBA Draft.
For those who don’t remember, former Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard was fired, but stayed on to conduct the draft-day duties for the team. Here’s what Allen remembers about the situation:
“Because Kevin … we set up our strategy for the draft and we went through if this player is there at that pick, we would do this, we had a whole decision tree set up on the white board – if we did the Martell (Webster) trade, if we didn’t do the Martell trade and different things.
“Then I went out to get some fresh air and Kevin tracked me down and basically said, ‘Well, you have already decided to let me go.’ And I said, ‘No. I haven’t.’ He said, ‘Well, you really should. Can I just meet with Larry the next day and we will part ways.’
And I was like, “OK…Really?”
‘Yes, yes,’ and he just kept coming back to it. So, if someone wants to be let go after a few times, and he said ‘what were your concerns about me?’ and I told him but we are not going to get into them now. So finally I said, ‘Fine, we’ll do it.’ And then of course it came out during the draft, which was very distracting … it didn’t effect actually what we did. But it wasn’t the most smooth draft day we’ve ever had here in Blazers draft history, let me put it that way.”
That’s just a small taste of the piece. Any Blazers fan, or just fans of the NBA in general, would definitely enjoy it.
NBA’s Christmas By the Numbers:
The NBA PR department loves to brag about all the viewers they’ll have on Christmas Day – a tradition that began in 1947 – and with five games scheduled for this year, they’ve already begun sending out a few factoids.
First of all, ABC/ESPN broadcast duo Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy will begin the day by calling Knicks-Celtics from Madison Square Garden before flying 1,719 miles to Oakland where they’ll call the final game of the night when the Clippers and Warriors face off. So if you think Van Gundy looks tired during the first game, just wait until you see him during the second half from Golden State.
Christmas’ two biggest workhorses – Kobe Bryant and the New York Knicks – will be active again. This is the 47th time the Knicks have played on Christmas and the 14th time Bryant has spent his holiday on the hardwood.
There will also be five MVPs playing (Bryant, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett) and 30 NBA All-Stars.
The NBA’s ad department is also proud to announce that the games will air in 215 countries and 15 different languages to accommodate all of the worldwide demand.
Anyway, the point the NBA is trying to make is, the league is back and everyone is excited. I think we can all agree on that.
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