Kris Humphries: What Should The Nets Do?

Disclaimer: This fanpost is a little redundant as it pertains to Kris Humphries; however, I just thought I'd recant the topic to see if the consensus remained the same.

Here's a piece of an entry by Danny Savitzky, of Nets Are Scorching:

Kris Humphries had a solid season in 2010-2011, but two major terms come to mind every time I think about it. Those terms are “contract year” and “fluke rule.” While I’d love to believe that Humphries’ performance this season is a good indicator for his future success, that’s not really a solid case. Time and time again, we’ve seen players really put their noses to the grindstone when the money’s on the line, only to shrink to replacement-level production as soon as they have guaranteed money for the next several years. Bobby Simmons comes to mind. Rashard Lewis comes to mind. Gilbert Arenas comes to mind. Anyone who ever wore a Knicks uniform during Isiah Thomas’ reign comes to mind. Too many times have NBA teams been bitten in the butt by trusting players who were trying their hardest just to secure livelihood, the success of the team be damned.

Beyond just that, though, Humphries’ tunnel vision is very concerning. Once he puts the ball on the floor toward the basket, you can guarantee he will take a shot. It doesn’t matter if someone’s open. It doesn’t matter if he’s 20 feet from the basket. Once he sets his sights on taking a shot, he’s going to take a shot. Unfortunately, he’s not good enough to be able to get away with that decisiveness. Sure, the last thing you want is a player to hesitate, but good decision-making doesn’t have to manifest itself as “shoot whenever you want.” With better players on the floor in Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, Humphries needed to learn to take his shots only when truly necessary. Too many times did he brick 17-foot jumpers off the side of the rim with 10+ seconds left on the shot clock.

Moreover, there’s the question of whether he and Lopez and coexist on the floor from a rebounding perspective. I’m fairly convinced Humphries’ selfishness on the boards directly influenced Lopez’s rebounding decline, and the last thing anyone needs is another year of Lopez bashing because someones robbing his rebounds. One of them should go, and anyone who thinks that one should be Lopez should also go.

Hump’s got to go. His effort and production are enviable, but the collateral damage could prove to be too much. Lopez will continue to struggle at his side, there’s a chance he won’t come close to duplicating his numbers with a lesser sense of urgency and money lining his pockets, and he’s going to require a hefty paycheck.

Really, I’d be perfectly okay with bringing Humphries back at no more than $6 million a year. Not a dime more. That makes the risk worth it and doesn’t cripple the salary-cap situation for later acquisitions. The problem, though, is that he’s sure to get more than that. He has garnered a lot of attention around the league — both on and off the court — and now he’s a notable, if not proven, commodity around the league. Every team needs rebounding and effort, and other teams can afford a bigger deal right now. Unfortunately, the Nets aren’t one of those teams.

The entire article -- with the positive portion included -- can be found HERE.

I agree with a lot of what Danny wrote.  We don't really know quite what the Nets have in Kris Humphries.  He seems to bring toughness, grit, hustle and a large asset to the team, but is he really worthy of what he could be offered on the open-market?  

Obviously, it's very likely that the new CBA will dramatically alter the structure of NBA contracts.  As a result, it's hard to gauge exactly what Humphries will (and should) be paid.  However, even though the salary figure -- or more specifically, the absolute value -- could change, it remains an issue.  To effectively evaluate market value, one must assess a cost relatively as opposed to absolutely.  In other words, even if the new CBA changes the absolute salary that Humphries will receive on the open-market, the Nets are still overpaying if they have to give him more than he's worth.  As the nature of NBA salaries changes, the salary-cap will do the same -- in fact, it would be fair to argue that the salary-cap serves as the predictor -- as opposed to the response -- variable.

I don't think it's necessarily fair to say that Humphries' production will drop after he inks a new contract -- because he's always provided steady production and just wasn't given the minutes necessary for it to stand out -- but there is a question of how much better he can become.  Over the course of his career, Humphries has shown himself to be a very effective rebounder (his career rebound-rate is 18.00%), but he's also had the propensity to force up poor shots and put on blinders.

Humphries appears to be a solid player, but we have to ask ourselves if he's really worth $7-9 million (or whatever the equivalent of that will be after the new CBA is implemented).  Is he a player that can significantly improve his offensive game and learn to become a better on-ball defender, or is he pretty much a finished-product?  Is Kris Humphries a starting power-forward on a winning team?

Honestly, I don't know the answer to those questions.  I think Humphries is a good hustle player, a great rebounder and someone who can finish strong inside.  Does that make him worthy of being a starter on what the Nets hope to be a championship-level team?  Maybe, maybe not.  It obviously depends on what else the Nets are able to add to the roster.

Personally, if the Nets are only able to get one of Humphries and Nene Hilario (obviously, the preference is to have both) I'd rather that they choose Nene.  In my opinion, the gap between Nene and Humphries in terms of pay is in line with the divide in expected production.

Now, the circumstances change if Humphries is willing to take a pay-cut to remain with the Nets.  It sounds as if Kim and Kris Humphries (I'm surprised she's changing her name) are looking to buy a house in the New York, New Jersey area.  That signals that they plan on Humphries still being a member of the Nets after this summer.  The Nets can present Humphries with a lot of marketing opportunities -- specifically, outside of the country -- that he might not have otherwise.  Hopefully, that's enough to sway him to remain with the team for a reasonable price.

There's also another asset that Humphries brings to the Nets (we already mentioned the other asset, but this one is connected) -- popularity.  The Nets want to market their brand and gain as much interest as possible.  They want to erase the irrelevancy that has loomed over the franchise's head for so long.  That's where the Kim Kardashian effect comes into play.  It's sad to say, but the Nets have probably gained more popularity through the connection to Kim Kardashian than they have through the acquisition of Deron Williams.  This should certainly be taken into consideration when evaluating Humphries' value.

There are several undetermined factors that will have a direct impact on this situation, but at this moment in time -- what do you think the Nets should do?  Do you think it's worth it to slightly overpay for Humphries?  Do you think it would behoove the Nets to pursue Nene (who will likely want close to $12 million a year) instead?  Do you want the Nets to bring back Humphries just so you can do THIS to Kim?  What do you think?   

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