Kris Humphries, after being told to sign his "basketball contract." (Getty Images)
Rebounding is very important. The very act of it either ends a possession for your opponent, or creates another one for your team. Several respected analysts, like John Hollinger and Dave Berri, heavily factor rebounding into their catch-all statistical metrics. TV announcers, even the ones that prefer calling an NBA basketball game rather than being in Arrowhead Stadium on a Sunday afternoon in October, still (incorrectly) point to team rebounding totals as some sort of advantage. Whatever the impetus of the love and obsession is immaterial. Rebounds matter.
Kris Humphries rebounds. He does and has done other things, off the court, but that's the extent to which we'll address that. He's also just re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets to the tune of two years, and $24 million. This is a number that baffles us slightly, even though the Nets have more or less established that they don't care how much money they spend on players.
Humphries, when given minutes, has proven he can average a double-double. He's double-double'd in double seasons, actually, with last year's double-double resulting in nearly 14 points and 11 boards per game. And though Humphries is entering his ninth NBA season, he won't turn 28 until midway through 2012-13. The Nets are paying him as he enters his prime. Handsomely. Like Kris is, on the outside at least.
In most other situations, considering a player that doesn't defend well and is still awkward offensively despite those nearly 9,000 career NBA minutes, we'd rail against this contract. This is the Nets, though, and it's in-house. We're basically on the outside of that house looking in, complaining that the parents are spoiling a child that we'll never have to work with in any capacity.
No, Kris Humphries' play (despite that double-double work) isn't worth $12 million a year, but the Nets don't care about this. They have the money to spend on him, with his Bird Rights that allow them to go over the cap and add to the over $300 million in cash they've doled out this offseason prior to Humphries' signing. Kris' reps were allowed to use the minor threat of Humphries' discord with Brooklyn's insistence on securing other assets first, and his insistence that he might spend his salad days in Charlotte, to ramp up the price on negotiations. As a result, Humphries might make a million for every point per game he averages in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
And the Nets don't care.
His deal, while significant, will end before the super-super-SUPER punitive luxury tax hits in 2013-14. The Nets needed rebounding with Brook Lopez failing in that regard up front, and they're hoping Humphries can continue to refine his offensive game: Kris' True Shooting Percentage has improved since becoming a Net, though that is a result of a notoriously fluke-y one-year rise in regular shooting percentage, and jumping to 75 percent from the line last year. His turnovers, also, have shot up. Still, things could change in his late 20s.
Rebounding makes up for a lot of these on-court sins. As mentioned, John Hollinger values rebounding very highly (though not nearly as much as Dave Berri), so Kris' Player Efficiency Rating has been just under 18 over the last two seasons. That may not be worth $12 million a year, but it's not far off in this league. And Brooklyn needed him. The team probably didn't have to pay him this much, but the difference between $9 million and $12 million a year for these guys is apparently a trifle.
It might not be an appropriate contract, considering the open market. But it's a Nets contract — that's a thing, now — for a team that was attempting to correct a need. Humphries, unless something falls off, fills that need with his rebounding. He knows the team, he's worked in Avery Johnson's system before, and he's worked well in setting screens for Deron Williams. His play isn't worth $12 million to the NBA, but it's worth $12 million to the Nets, and the length of the deal doesn't make the slight overpay much of a risk.
Now to just determine a way to not get 20 percent of your shots blocked in a season, Kris.
(We lied about the off-court stuff. I love the fact that Humphries had to wait 73 days to diss Kanye West on his Twitter account, following West's shot at Humphries in a song and before his eventual re-signing with the Nets. Seventy-three days. One day longer than his marriage to Kim Kardashian lasted.)
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