After a red-hot start to the season, things have cooled down rather quickly in Brooklyn. The Nets are now 14-12 following today’s ugly win over the Sixers – not quite cause for absolute panic, but it’s certainly not the kind of record the Nets hoped to have after spending major money this summer. The Nets re-upped Deron Williams on a max deal, gave Gerald Wallace $40MM over four years, and inked Brook Lopez to a four-year, $60MM pact. This offseason’s biggest addition – All-Star guard Joe Johnson – is set to earn nearly $90MM through 2015/16. But the player being most scrutinized these days is forward Kris Humphries, who re-signed with the Nets on a two-year, $24MM deal.
Of course, Avery Johnson has taken his fair share of criticism from people in recent weeks (including a certain point guard wearing No. 8), but Humphries might be the biggest scapegoat on the floor. After starting more than 100 games for the Nets over the past two seasons, Humphries saw himself demoted to the bench in the midst of the club’s five-game slide. After getting back in the starting five for back-to-back games, the 27-year-old was left in his warmups this afternoon while Keith Bogans started in a downsized lineup with Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche offering support in the frontcourt.
Johnson says that Hump isn’t in the doghouse, but it’s hard to believe based on the way that he has been phased out of the rotation. Humphries has survived adversity before, from his lack of playing time in Utah, Toronto, and Dallas to the constant heckling that he endured last season thanks to a high-profile split with a certain Page Six mainstay. However, this might be a case where a trade will benefit both the player and the team.