As the MLB All-Star Game festivities began Monday, Minnesota native Kris Humphries showed up to Target Field, and resident Red Sox expert Rob Bradford caught up with the Celtics free agent.
While a recent Boston Globe report suggested the C’s were “backing off” from attempts to re-sign the 29-year-old big man, Humphries claims he’s still open to returning to Boston next season.
“I could definitely see it,” Humphries told Bradford. “My agent handles most of the stuff with free agency. We’ll see what happens. I definitely could see it. I played out last year and didn’t look to jump to a playoff team before the end of the year, so I definitely enjoyed my time there, and we’ll see what happens.”
Humphries’ expiring $12 million contract helped make the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade to the Nets possible, but he wasn’t always sold on Boston.
“When I first went there, I never thought I’d ever play in Boston,” he said. “That was like the last place where I ever thought I’d be putting on a jersey, but the fans were great. They embraced you if you played hard, and the coaching staff and everyone was awesome.”
From the moment Humphries arrived early to training camp, he won over fans inside the Celtics organization and out as a stable veteran presence off the court despite inconsistent minutes on it. He averaged 8.4 points (55.2 TS%) and 5.9 rebounds in just 19.9 minutes, leading the team in PER (18.2). In a crowded frontcourt featuring Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass, Humphries made the best of a bad situation on a 25-win team.
“The fans are great in Boston,” said Humphries, who naturally wore a Twins cap in his hometown of Minneapolis. “Really, no matter what team you look at, the support is awesome. Obviously, you want to make the playoffs. That’s obviously a little disappointing, but it was a year where I feel like I got better as a player, working on different parts of my game. Sometimes you’ve just gotta take certain things from a situation where you don’t make the playoffs.”
The Celtics currently have 13 players under guaranteed contract, potentially leaving two open roster spots pending decisions on Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey, Chris Johnson and Chris Babb. Further trades also could open up a spot for Humphries. Surely, he’ll be taking a pay cut wherever he ends up, but his future in Boston may depend on the number of suitors phoning his agent, Arn Tellem. Regardless, Humphries envisions a bright future for the C’s.
“A lot of free agency is just cap space and a chance to win,” said Humphries, who has played for five teams in his 10 NBA seasons, “so Boston’s always going to have a competitive team, and we’ll see what happens.”