It’s not everyday you see a player who makes $12 million dollars a year get a healthy DNP, but that’s where the Nets are at with Kris Humphries right now. Coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Nets were just 2-8 in their last ten games and on a serious slide down the standings.
You can’t blame Avery Johnson for wanting to mix things up, but something seems fishy here. Humphries has started 20 games for the Nets and plays 23 minutes a night, so it’s not like he’s been clinging to scraps in terms of playing time. Falling out of the rotation and not playing a single minute that swiftly is…odd. Nets head coach Avery Johnson had some explaining to do after the 95-92 win over the 76ers, and here’s what he said:
Avery on Humphries’ DNP:”Basically a coach’s decision… He’s healthy,he’s fine,he’s not in the doghouse.We just had to try something else.”
— Andy Vasquez (@andy_vasquez) December 23, 2012
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a coach say, “yes, he’s in the doghouse” but it does seem possible that this was strictly a basketball decision. Andray Blatche has easily been the more effective player so far this year, and Brook Lopez’s return to playing shape saps up a lot of the available frontcourt minutes. As for fellow reserve forward Reggie Evans? He’s stolen playing time from guys with bigger salaries his entire career. Nothing new there.
Regardless, I wouldn’t completely buy in to Johnson’s explanation. Don’t be surprised if Humphries is heavily shopped come January 15th, the day he’s eligible to be traded. His $12 million dollar contract that expires in 2014 can be used as a big asset to match salaries and perhaps bring another star (albeit one on a long-term deal, most likely) to Brooklyn.
The Nets have shown they’re willing to mix it up and make a big splash on the trade market, and although they’ll want to showcase Humphries at some point, this may be the beginning of the end for Humphries’ time in Brooklyn.