Humphries happy to be back with new-look Nets
After going through NBA free agency for a second straight year and hearing offers from a handful of different teams, Kris Humphries only wanted one thing — to be a member of the Brooklyn Nets. He received his wish, and on Friday, as Brooklyn continued its offseason deluge of press conferences, Humphries was re-introduced to the media.
“It’s a nature of the business, but I always wanted to be back,” said Humphries, a forward who signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Nets this week. “There were a lot of things floated out there and I had to explore other things. But this is where I wanted to be. A lot of things went through my mind, but I wasn’t close to making a decision.
“This all came together at the right time.”
Humphries, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Nets last December, just as the lockout-shortened training camp was reaching an end, had career high averages of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 62 games last season. It marked the second straight year that the 6-foot-9 Humphries had averaged double figures in points and rebounds.
When the moratorium on NBA free agency was lifted July 1, Humphries and his new agent, Mark Cornstein, entertained offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats in pursuit of a multi-year deal. There were also rumors that Humphries was being shopped as part of a sign-and-trade deal in order to acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic, but that trade fell through.
In reality, Humphries didn’t want to leave the Nets, and eventually settled for fewer years with Brooklyn.
“Every NBA player wants to get the most money and the most years,” Humphries said at a press conference at the team’s training facility. “That’s what it’s all about. But I made a decision to be here. I’m happy with the way things turned out. I just let my agent do his job. I’ve been traded a few times, so I know the craziness that goes on. I didn’t let it get to me.
“It’s strange how all this has happened.”
Humphries, 27, likes the improvements that Nets general manager Billy King has made this offseason, re-signing free agents Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez, while acquiring Joe Johnson in a trade. The Nets also acquired bench players Reggie Evans and C.J. Watson, as well as Mirza Teletovic.
“We have a lot of great parts now,” Humphries said. “We want to be a playoff team. I’ve been a part of this team through the whole process of first going to Newark, and now to Brooklyn. I’m excited to get things going in Brooklyn. I’m willing to accept whatever my role is. I want to win and I want to be in the playoffs.”
Humphries — one of only five NBA players to average double figures in points and rebounds last season — said that he knew all along that All-Star point guard Williams would return to the Nets.
“I told my friends that I knew Deron was coming back,” Humphries said. “It had to be a no-brainer for him, to be part of the excitement going to Brooklyn. I think everyone in Brooklyn expects us to be in the playoffs and the ownership put this good team together. I wanted to be back and I wanted this to happen. It’s been a vision of the management since I’ve been here.
“They knew it was a rebuilding process and had a vision buying into Brooklyn. Everyone had the same vision and we want to keep the hype going as we move forward. I’m excited to get there.”
Humphries was asked if he thought the Nets were now a top five team in the Eastern Conference.
“Yeah, I’d say so,” Humphries said. “If you look at what we have — and the coaching staff we have — we’re definitely a playoff team. That’s what we’re looking to do. There’s buzz. You can see it all over. It’s going to be unbelievable. I’m glad to be “a part of it.”
Humphries said that it’s been a complete turnaround since a year ago, when he was collecting more headlines for his short-lived marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian during the NBA lockout.
“Last year, I knew it was going to be a while before we played again,” Humphries said. “I didn’t sign until the last preseason game. Now, I know I’m signed. I know there’s going to be a season and I know where I’m going to be. I’m with a team headed in the right direction.”
While Humphries was excited about being with the Nets, he would not talk about his former wife and her relationship with recording artist Kanye West. He made a comment last week on his Twitter page, mocking West’s latest single.
“I’ve addressed that situation one time and I won’t again,” Humphries said. “I’m here to talk basketball.”
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