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Celtics, for the last time: Kris Humphries

One of the most unpredictable Celtics seasons [1] in recent memory begins Wednesday, and in order to determine the likelihood of each player reaching his full potential, we’ll be examining them individually in this year’s Green Street preview with one form of this question in mind: “When’s the last time ‘€¦ ?” Next up: Kris Humphries.

When’s the last time an offseason expiring contract acquisition was dealt midseason?

We could have asked, “When’s the last time Kris Humphries played well in a contract season?” But that one’s too easy. He recorded career-high averages of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 2011-12.

It should come as no surprise if Humphries performs well this season. That’s what Celtics [2] president Danny Ainge was banking on when he acquired Humphries’ $12 million expiring contract in the Paul Pierce [3] and Kevin Garnett [4] deal this summer. That deal is an attractive one to any team looking to create cap space this coming summer.

And, sure, the C’s could let Humphries play out the final year of his two-year deal and create that cap room themselves this coming offseason. But they’ll also be shopping him come February. So, what might they get?

The list of famous expiring contracts in the NBA is an extensive one, including Theo Ratliff [5]‘s deal that helped bring Kevin Garnett to Boston in 2007. But, really, how often does a double-digit expiring deal like Humphries’ get traded twice in a season, considering the Nets [6] coincidentally already used it to acquire KG?

Actually, there are four recent examples of such a scenario in the past 15 years: Antoine Walker [7] in 2004-05, Antonio Davis in 2005-06, Troy Murphy [8] in 2010-11 and Mehmet Okur in 2011-12. Like Humphries, all were veteran power forwards. Let’s examine how teams in the C’s position fared in those swaps.

After acquiring Walker from the Mavericks over the summer, the Hawks sent him back to the Celtics On Feb. 24, 2005, for Tom Gugliotta, Gary Payton, Michael Stewart and a 2006 first-round draft pick. That pick would have been a huge boon to the Suns had they not dealt it to the C’s in the form of Rajon Rondo [9].

After acquiring Davis from the Bulls over the summer, the Knicks sent him to the Raptors on Feb. 3, 2006, for Jalen Rose [10] and a 2006 first-round pick that became Renaldo Balkman [11]. Not exactly a haul worth bragging about.

After acquiring Murphy from the Pacers, the Nets sent him to the Warriors on Feb. 23, 2011, for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright [12]. (The Warriors waived Murphy, who signed with the C’s for the rest of the season.) Just bad.

After acquiring Okur from the Jazz [13] on Dec. 22, 2011, the Nets sent him to the Blazers on March 15, 2012, for Gerald Wallace [14]. That deal was horrific for so many reasons, including the fact New Jersey sent a first-round pick that became Damian Lillard that summer and forced their own hand into signing Wallace long-term.

Somehow, nobody benefited from double-dealing an expiring contract and Ainge has ties to three of these deals.

Click on the links below to check out the “When’s the last time ‘€¦ ?” questions for other Celtics.

Kelly Olynyk: When’€™s the last time a middle-of-the-pack draft pick won NBA Rookie of the Year honors? [15]
Gerald Wallace: When’€™s the last time a declining over-30 former All-Star enjoyed a career resurgence? [16]
Avery Bradley [17]: When’€™s the last time a player emerged as a defensive standout, then made offensive leap? [18]
Vitor Faverani: When’€™s the last time an undrafted foreign-born rookie took the NBA world by storm? [19]
Brandon Bass [20]: When’€™s the last time a frontcourt mate emerged in the wake of a blockbuster trade? [21]
Phil Pressey: When’€™s the last time an undrafted rookie point guard set the NBA world on fire? [22]