SUNDAY, 11:01am: The Suns are expected to complete a buyout deal with Kris Humphries later today, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The Hawks are the favorite to sign Humphries after he clears waivers, as Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops first reported Saturday. Because Humphries is being released before Tuesday’s deadline, he will be eligible to participate in the postseason with his new team. “Basketball always comes down to winning and competing, especially now that the season is so long,” Humphries said, according to Coro. “[Joining a playoff team] is always an option.”
Humphries has been in Phoenix for a little more than a week after Washington traded him there in a deadline deal for Markieff Morris. The Suns also received a top-nine protected draft pick and DeJuan Blair, who was waived on Monday. Humphries is making $4.6MM this season and in 2016/17, so it’s possible he could be giving up a substantial amount of money in the buyout.
The parting of ways with Humphries coincides with Phoenix’s desire to give more time to younger players, as Coro examines in a separate story. Interim coach Earl Watson used the team’s 18th different starting lineup of the season Saturday and wants to see more of Alex Len, Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker.
“I think it’s time to put our young guys in position, as many young guys as we can, in a position to be successful,” Watson said. “I think we have to let them be comfortable.”
The Hawks have an open roster spot and are definitely interested in Humphries, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta has been monitoring buyout candidates as it searches for a replacement for center/forward Tiago Splitter, who is out for the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery this week. Splitter was averaging 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds through 36 games, mostly as a reserve.
Humphries could play a role in costing his former team a playoff spot if he signs with Atlanta, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. At 27-30, the Wizards are in 10th place and four games behind the Hawks in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The teams will meet three more times this season.