Following a productive 2010-11 season for the 24-win New Jersey Nets, Humphries earned himself a nice one-year contract. After averaging yet another double-double during the 2011-12 lockout-truncated campaign, he was awarded with a lavish deal spanning two years. Now he appears headed for something similar with the Boston Celtics.
"Humphries has said he would like to return—a surprise, considering he will be courted by playoff teams when his contract expires on June 30," writes Murphy. "Agent Arn Tellum has held preliminary talks with Celtics president Danny Ainge, understanding that the team can’t predict its direction right now."
The power forward's future in Boston is a matter of curiosity.
Why would Humphries want to remain with the rebuilding Celtics when postseason-bound teams and championship contenders will be after his services this summer?
The NBA journeyman is encouraged by the direction Ainge is taking Boston's reclamation project in. He wants to be there when the Celtics make their playoff return, suggesting he believes it's coming soon.
"The chance to be part of a playoff team here will be great," he told Murphy. "I think it’s possible."
It's also possible Ainge and the Celtics are willing to re-sign him—for the right price.
Though Humphries is averaging 15.2 points and 10.6 rebounds on 50.2 percent shooting per 36 minutes, he's not going to net anything close to the $12 million he's earning this season if he remains in Boston. At 29, he doesn't figure into the big picture of a long-term rebuild.
Even if the Celtics are expecting a quick turnaround, it would be shocking to see them offer him any more than $6 million annually. Their books have the opportunity to be relatively clean for summer 2015, when a slew of star free agents, including their own Rajon Rondo, will become available. Investing too much money in Humphries eats into valuable cap space.
There's a definite possibility, though, Humphries isn't seeking a ridiculous contract. Playing time has been inconsistent at every stop. If the Celtics are prepared to offer him two or more years of role stability, then a Beantown discount is not out of the question.
"I want to be a part of this whole, building this team and doing all that stuff with the new coach and all that, I want to be here," he told The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn in January. "You never know if they want you or they don’t want you or what their plans are, but I like Boston, my teammates."
That's as true now as it was then. Humphries' loyalty hasn't wavered. It hasn't changed.
Maybe, for once, the team he calls his own won't have to, either.
*Salary information via ShamSports.