About Kris Humphries on the Boston Celtics

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Is he just TMZ fodder or still a legit NBA player? Doesn't matter because he's a walking trade chip.

The fan reaction to Kris Humphries joining the Celtics has been somewhat amusing to watch. The initial "we traded our stars for HIM???" was understandable. The revulsion stemming from his TMZ status is to be expected. Then there's the basketball side, where people point out that he's making near-max money and was flat out not-very-good last year.

I get all of that and for the most part I'm right there with you. I don't generally watch reality TV and the few snippets I've seen involving him seemed harmless yet vapid. I don't know what I can draw from any of that about his character except that he's attracted to a scene and lifestyle that I find distasteful. Yet, the same could be said for a lot of NBA players that had slightly less famous wives and girlfriends. As long as he doesn't do anything really embarrassing or against the law or whatever, then it doesn't typically carry over onto the court. I do wonder if the distraction of the media circus and the reality program detracted from his play last year.

About his play: His numbers fell sharply off from the 2 seasons prior when he averaged a double double. Last year he averaged under 6 points and boards per game. It is interesting to note that the guy had played in 3 other cities prior to his last 3 years in New Jersey / Brooklyn and his stats never really approached double double status in part because he barely scratched 13 minutes a game in most cases. You can't take away his 2 years in New Jersey that he put up those good numbers. But at some point you have to wonder if he'll ever get back to that point.

For his part Danny Ainge isn't all that concerned. Or at least he's putting out the best spin possible at the moment.

Keith Bogans explains why Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace struggled for Brooklyn Nets; Danny Ainge hushes trade rumors | masslive.com

"I certainly know that Humphries hasn’t dropped as a player," he said. "At 28 years old and you’re as fit as he is… you don’t become a worse player. So we don’t really look at the numbers that way."

In addition, Kieth Bogans explains away the struggles by Wallace and Humphries by pointing out that those guys are hustle guys and the team played a lot of isolation basketball - which doesn't benefit hustle guys much at all.

Ok fine, whatever. I'm ok with that and frankly I'm not sure I even care. The best case for Humphries is that he's a rebounding machine that isn't terrible in getting 2nd chance points. But he's also a veteran who's not going to keep growing and he currently stands to take minutes away from Jared Sullinger and probably Kelly Olynyk. Otherwise known as our frontcourt future. Good, bad, or indifferent he doesn't make sense on this basketball team.

So the best thing would be to trade him. The funny thing is, he signed that contract with Brooklyn knowing full well that he was signing up to be a trade asset. Nobody thought he was worth $12M on his best day. But when free agents around his level were getting 4 or 5 year deals in the $5M to $6M range, it seemed like a better idea just to give him a short term, bloated contract that would help match salaries with a star player. And you know what? It worked! They didn't get Dwight Howard as they had planned, but they got Pierce and Garnett, which isn't bad.

Can we use him in the same manner? Some team might want some long term salary relief and be willing to send us some combination of assets in return for his contract. Another option is to trade him for another large, expiring contract (Ben Gordon's name has been tossed around). In a perfect world, he would be traded for a pick creating a big Traded Player Exception, but I'm not holding my breath.

Then again, his contract might be most valuable at the trade deadline when teams have realized that their experiments didn't work and are looking to get out of the buyers remorse that they have.

So we might just be stuck with Kris for a little while. That isn't my first choice, but it is an option. We might just let him wander around the streets of Boston for a year (regardless if he plays or not) collecting his massive paycheck and coming off the books next summer. That alone might be valuable to the future of the team.

Oh yeah, and I'm just now realizing that I haven't even brought up the Rondo incident. I guess that's because I don't even consider it worth making a big deal about. Guys get into scraps on the court and forgive and forget minutes later. Especially when they become teammates. So, pretty much a non-issue for me unless I hear otherwise.

The short version for me is this: I don't have anything personal against Kris. He might be a really nice (if vain) kind of guy. He might even be a decent basketball player. But he just doesn't fit what this team needs and he amounts to a walking trade chip - which is a pretty awkward thing in of itself. The TMZ stuff just makes it more surreal.

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