Kris Humphries isn’t a center but he can play the spot in a pinch — last season in Brooklyn he played 2 percent of the team’s minutes at the five (according to 82games.com). He was about average on offense, a little below average on defense, but he’s not terrible at the spot. The season before he played 11 percent of the Nets minutes at center and averaged 22.6 points per 48 minutes and had an All-Star level PER of 25.4.
Which is good because Boston could be playing him there a lot.
The Celtics have some solid fours on their roster in Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger, but at center it’s basically rookie Kelly Olynyk and Vitor Faverani. Basically, Boston has a bunch of fours who will masquerade as centers. Which means we could see a lot of Humphries at the five in Boston.
He told Celtics.com he’s good with that, as transcribed by Masslive.com (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
“Well I’ve always played power forward, center, sometimes switching out guarding some ‘3’ men,” said Humphries, asked specifically if he anticipates playing some center. “I think with some of the versatility we have, we’ll see guys playing different positions out there.”
Last season when Kevin Garnett was on the court, the Celtics allowed 96.2 points per 100 possessions, which would have been the best in the league if they could have maintained it. However when he was off the court that jumped to 104.6 per 100 — that would have been 22nd in the league, about equal with the Raptors.
This season Garnett is in Brooklyn and rookie coach Brad Stevens has a bunch of undersized guys to play center. It doesn’t look promising.
So expect a lot of Humphries at center, which is potentially good for the offense. As for that other end of the court… well, this is going to be a very different Boston team.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.