Despite this being a really tough season in terms of wins and losses, there have been several silver linings for the Celtics in the season's first half.
The emergence of Avery Bradley as an offensive weapon.
The emergence of Jared Sullinger as a legit starting power forward, with an All-Star ceiling.
The (so far) successful return of Rajon Rondo from ACL surgery.
And while it has been understandably overshadowed by the above, the play of Kris Humphries would have to be in that category as well. After initially being buried as the fifth big man, Humphries kept working and slowly went from not playing at all, to playing ten minutes a night off the bench, to twenty, and now finally to playing 25-30 minutes per game as a starter.
The tenth year pro is averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in just under 19 minutes, numbers that continue to climb as he's given a bigger role.
But now the question becomes: will Humphries even survive the season in Boston?
He's making $12 million this year, but becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, which obviously brings his future into question. While many contenders would love to have Humphries on their team, his $12 million salary complicates things quite a bit. We've already broken it down here, but the bottom-line is that it's going to be hard to find a team willing to give up both expiring contracts and an asset to land Hump. It's not impossible, but it's going to be tricky.
So if a trade is going to be tough to pull off, what about re-signing this summer? Well, Humphries is down. He spoke with the Boston Globe, and sounds like a guy interested in coming back to Boston.
“I want to be a part of this whole, building this team and doing all that stuff with the new coach and all that, I want to be here,” he said. “You never know if they want you or they don’t want you or what their plans are, but I like Boston, my teammates. I’m just getting a chance to play with Rondo a little bit now.”
If the price was right (I'm thinking around $5 million per season), I'd love to bring back Humphries on a two or three year deal. But before that can happen we'll have to see if Danny Ainge can shed any more salary for future seasons, and see what the team decides to do with Bradley this summer. If there is room, Hump has proven he's one hell of a role player.
As for playing with Rondo, which Humphries mentions above, it turns out that the whole Rondo-Hump feud that was talked about after the Celtics acquired him was actually real. At least in his mind.
“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I never liked him until I got here,” Humphries said. “And then it took me a minute to like him once I got here. He’s a competitor, even if he’s not scoring points, he’s getting assists, he can really rebound for a point guard, and defensively I was surprised what he was doing in the first quarter [Sunday].
“The more he plays, the more we’re going to grow as a team. Someone new comes back, he’s gotta figure out how to do the most he can in 20 minutes, it’s kind of tricky, and I think you can expect better from him and better from us as we keep going here.”
Honest answer, and not all that surprising if you remember their little scuffle last season (and the impending twitter picture Humphries posted). But as usual, once guys becomes teammates these things tend to be smoothed over.
And I think the same can be said for the way Celtics fans view Humphries. When the Pierce/KG trade first went down, a lot of Cs fans were infuriated that this was the guy that was coming back in return for two Celtics legends (even though that deal was never about the players the Celtics got). Now he's transformed himself into a bit of a fan favorite. A guy who brings effort every night, and someone who's fun to root for.
Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13
For more of my articles, click here Michael Dyer 1/21/2014 02:30:00 PM Tweet