The Boston Celtics, led by general manager Danny Ainge, are seemingly going to be one of the most active teams at this year’s NBA trade deadline. In a state of rebuilding, the Celtics look to be one of the most likely teams in the league to make a move at the Feb. 20 deadline and as we continue to preview those players who seem most likely to be moved, next up we take a look at veteran big man Kris Humphries.
Kris Humphries joined the Celtics in the offseason as part of the blockbuster deal that saw the end of the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett era in Boston. Humphries was an essential part of the trade with his $12 million expiring contract needed not only make the numbers match but to provide the Celtics with one of a number of assets in return for their veteran stars. Humphries has been a productive player for most of his 10-season career in the NBA and the 29-year-old big man has provided a steady, reliable contribution for the Celtics in the frontcourt this season. He has averaged 7.5 points, 5.7 rebounds with a block and an assist in 45 games this season. He is an efficient, productive player reaching those totals in just 19 minutes per game while shooting .500 from the field and .868 from the free throw line.
Humphries has made a career out of his tremendous rebounding ability, hustle and efficient finishing. He has always produced when given the minutes to do so and has had multiple seasons in his career where he averaged double digits in rebounding. He has good size and strength, competes on both ends of the floor and from all accounts has been nothing but professional during his tenure in Boston, helping rookies and younger players through what has been a tough season thus far. After initially struggling to find consistent minutes in the rotation, Humphries impressed coach Brad Stevens and has gradually increased his role, minutes and production as the season has gone on.
Why They Would Trade Him:
In today’s NBA, as the league adjusts to the new collective bargaining agreement, an expiring contract the size of Humphries’ could be invaluable to any number of teams. The ability to shed more than $12 million in salary this season allows for great financial flexibility, making it easier to re-sign their own players or perhaps make a big splash in free agency. Now while that would also be useful for the Celtics, Danny Ainge may find a way to further stockpile assets as the team rebuilds by moving a productive big man like Kris Humphries coupled with a cap-friendly contract. The Celtics have been impressed with Humphries but at 29, he is not a young piece the team will build around in the future and it appears he is one of the most likely players on the roster to be moved in the next eight days.
Teams That Would Be Interested:
The Suns are one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season and as they push towards an unlikely berth in the Western Conference playoffs, they have an opportunity to bolster their front court at the trade deadline. Phoenix has a big trade piece in the contract of Emeka Okafor, which is also expiring, but the veteran big man is yet to play a game this season and the insured contract could provide additional savings for whoever holds it for the rest of the season. If the Suns want to add a veteran contributor for their push towards the post-season, while still retaining the flexibility of a cap-friendly expiring deal Humphries could be the ideal target. Phoenix has a surplus of first-round picks and a deal centered around Okafor and a first-rounder for Humphries may be a simple, yet effective deal for both teams at the deadline.
Much like the Suns, the Bobcats look to be making the playoffs this season and could possibly look to boost their frontcourt before the deadline in an attempt to improve their seeding and their chances of a first-round victory. Al Jefferson has been on a tear for the Bobcats recently but they could use another high level rebounder and Humphries could immediately be the second best big man on the team. Charlotte is another team with a big expiring contract in veteran guard Ben Gordon, who has contributed very little for the team this season and is widely rumored to be on the move in the next week. By trading Gordon and a draft pick for Humphries, the Bobcats would retain their financial flexibility but also add a productive, experienced veteran to help them return to the postseason for the first time in four years.
There would be any number of teams that would love to add the expiring contract of Kris Humphries at the deadline so the Kings may seem like a left-field selection but there could be some grounds for discussion between the two teams at the deadline. The Kings finally seem to have a bright future with big man DeMarcus Cousins emerging as one of the elite centers in the game, but they have some contracts on their books that they may look to shed in order to put a stronger team around Cousins going forward. In particular, the contracts of Marcus Thornton and Travis Outlaw, who both have this and next season remaining, are ones that the Kings would no doubt love to move and depending on how much incentive they are willing to give, the expiring deal of Humphries could be the quickest way to do so. The Celtics would be adding salary but they will not have cap space this offseason without any dramatic trades at the deadline and if they were able to get a valuable first round pick out of the deal Ainge may be willing to take on an extra year of salary in the short term.
Next Up: Avery Bradley