Washington Wizards Make Smart Move Replacing Trevor Booker with Kris Humphries

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2014

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 30: Kris Humphries #43 of the Boston Celtics gets introduced before a game against the Chicago Bulls on March 30, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE  (Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Kris Humphries may not be one of this summer's biggest splashes, but that shouldn't diminish his importance to the Washington Wizards

According to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, "Free-agent forward Kris Humphries has agreed to a three-year, $13 million deal with the Washington Wizards, league sources told Yahoo Sports."

Per Wojnarowski, "The Boston Celtics have reached agreement on a sign-and-trade with Washington to fit Humphries' deal into the salary cap, sources said. Boston gets a future protected second-round pick and a trade exception in the deal, sources said."

That's a good deal for Humphries, and not just because he's coming off a season in which he made $12 million. Compared to the immediate alternative, the 29-year-old came at a relative discount.

Former Wizards power forward Trevor Booker recently inked a pact worth even more annually. Wojnarowski reports, "Booker has agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Utah Jazz, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday."

Though switching backup forwards won't decisively transform the Wizards, this is the kind of move that can make a difference come the postseason—when having an extra veteran around can make a big difference.

It doesn't hurt that Humphries apparently knows where the Verizon Center is already.

Booker was a solid fit in Washington and had a decent enough 2013-14 campaign. 

He'll be missed, too. But not for that long. The 26-year-old averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds last season in 21.6 minutes per game. In comparison, Humphries tallied 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in just 19.9 minutes per contest.

That's some serious efficiency, good enough for an 18.28 player efficiency rating.

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As ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin put it: "A guy who takes a lot of ridicule for his off-the-court life from fans (remember the Kim Kardashian saga), on the court he is a rock-solid reserve big man — an efficient scorer who doesn’t use much offense, he’s strong on the glass and he provides a real physicality."

The new addition also brings some much-needed insurance at the power forward position, especially after starter Nene Hilario only played in 53 games last season due to injury.

Humphries started a combined 106 games in his final two seasons with the Nets. When given the minutes, he's proved to be a reliable double-double threat, averaging a career-high 13.8 points and 11 rebounds during the 2011-12 season—one in which he was allotted 34.9 minutes per game.

That kind of experience is valuable on a team with a young bench that includes guys like Otto Porter and Kevin Seraphin. When the postseason rolls around, the ability to insert a tested big man will serve head coach Randy Wittman well.

Humphries has also spent some time playing center and could find playing time behind Marcin Gortat. 

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 29: Nene #42 and Marcin Gortat #4 of the Washington Wizards leave the court after Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls in the 2014 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illi
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So Wittman will have some options as well.

The nice thing about Humphries is that he'll make contributions without getting a lot of touches. His 17.8 usage rate ranked him just 35th among power forwards last season, indicating that he didn't require substantial involvement in Boston's offense. And yet, he still produced.

By now, Humphries understands his role. He doesn't force shots and made 50.1 percent of his field-goal attempts last season. That steadiness should help him fit right in as Washington's first big man off the bench.

This team doesn't need a savior. It just needed a tweak or two.

One of those tweaks includes the addition of Paul Pierce, who will replace Trevor Ariza at small forward. Ariza elected to go to the Houston Rockets, and Washington obliged him by working out a three-team sign-and-trade arrangement with Houston and the New Orleans Pelicans

Quickly, the Wizards have become a more seasoned and indeed older team, which might not be a bad thing considering the young backcourt anchored by John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Together, Pierce and Humphries will inject some tenacity into Wittman's rotation, providing leadership by example if nothing else.

Again, it's not a big splash, but it's the kind of adjustment this organization needed to make after a breakthrough 2013-14 campaign. It would have liked to retain Ariza, but Pierce wound up being more affordable by a long shot.

So in Pierce and Humphries, the Wizards ended up with two very serviceable vets at two very affordable prices. The same goes for retaining 38-year-old point guard Andre Miller and big man Drew Gooden.

BROOKLYN, NY - MAY 12: Paul Pierce #34 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2014 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
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After having retained Gortat early on in free agency, it's been a pretty successful summer for general manager Ernie Grunfeld. He didn't necessarily get everything he wanted, but he made the best out of the cards he was dealt.

It would be an overstatement to suggest someone like Humphries immediately makes Washington a contender, but it would also be a mistake to forget about this club's in-house development. Wall and Beal will be a year more polished, especially after having done battle in the playoffs. Porter might even crack the rotation more significantly and is sure to benefit from Pierce's mentorship.

There isn't star power at every position, but there's enough there to make some noise—especially in the softer Eastern Conference, where it might not take much to reach the Finals in the wake of LeBron James' departure from the Miami Heat.

If there were ever a window of opportunity for a young team to prove itself, this is it. And smaller moves like the acquisition of Humphries will help.

Sometimes it's more about fit than flash. Washington may not be turning heads in the offseason, but it's next season that matters.

And as far as that's concerned, Grunfeld and Co. may have done just enough.