Kris Humphries, who in 2 1/2 years with the Nets has gone from NBA vagabond to nightly double-double threat, re-signed Tuesday for two more seasons. Likely returning to his starting role at the 4 after posting career-best averages in points (13.8), rebounds (11.0) and minutes (34.9) last season, Humphries completes the starting five; he joins Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez.
"Kris has been a very consistent player for us over the past two years," King said. "He has developed into one of the top rebounding forwards in the league, and we are very pleased to welcome him back."
In 180 games with the Nets, Humphries has averaged 9.6 points, and 10.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 24.8 minutes. His high-motor, high-rebounding style of play complements that of Lopez, a 7-foot scoring machine who posted 20.4 PPG playing alongside Humphries in 2010-11.
A strong, athletic forward who runs the floor, only a reduction in minutes -- the Nets added two power forwards this offseason -- should prevent Humphries from repeating the double-double averages he's posted two seasons running. Humphries' ability to defend both 4- and 5-men will allow the team to run capable smaller lineups with three guards (Williams, Johnson and either MarShon Brooks, Tyshawn Taylor or Jerry Stackhouse).
Continuing to bring in veterans with winning experience, the Nets added swingman Jerry Stackhouse on Monday. Stackhouse joined teammates Deron Williams and C.J. Watson in announcing the news via Twitter:
Playing for the Hawks in 2011-12, Stackhouse appeared in 30 games, averaging 3.6 points in 9.1 minutes per game. For his career (933 games), Stackhouse holds career averages of 17.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 31.8 minutes.
With a need for veteran help in the backcourt, the Nets turned to C.J. Watson to back up Deron Williams and help ease the expectations for rookie Tyshawn Taylor. Last year in Chicago, during Watson's fifth NBA season, the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 9.7 points, 4.1 assists and 23.7 minutes in 49 games (25 starts).
"We are very pleased to add a veteran with the savvy and experience of C.J. Watson to our roster," said King. C.J. has the ability to be productive in a variety of roles, and he will add quality and versatility to our backcourt rotation."
Watson, who started five of the Bulls' six playoff games after Derrick Rose blew out his knee, seems to have been paying attention to the Nets' marketing campaign for the Brooklyn move:
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been attempting to position the Nets as the NBA's "first global franchise," and followed up on it by bringing the Euroleague's leading scorer to Brooklyn. Mirza Teletovic, who averaged 21.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 34.4 minutes during 10 Eurocup games (.434 FG%; .431 3P%), agreed to terms with the Nets and will sign this week.
"Mirza Teletovic is one of the premier power forwards in Europe, and we are very pleased to add him to the Nets roster," said Nets General Manager Billy King. "He has an excellent outside game, and his ability to stretch the floor will be an important component to the teams success in the future."
Playing for Caja Laboral Vitoria of the Spanish ACB League, the 6-foot-9, 242-pound forward averaged 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 31.1 minutes, shooting .463 from the field and .360 from behind the arc. Though Teletovic doesn't rebound particularly well, the 26-year-old is thought to be one of Europe's most gifted offensive players.
In a scouting report for The Painted Area blog, Jay Aych writes:
He's been advertised as a stretch-4, which isn't inaccurate, but I just think that description undersells his total game.
He's much more than just a spot-up shooter who just plants himself behind the arc. He can hit shots coming off screens and quick dribble pull-ups in iso action. And he works out of the post, a lot.
After more than a season of speculation, Brook Lopez will spend his fifth season Brooklyn. Wednesday night, the 24-year-old center signed on for four more years with the team that drafted him 10th in 2008.
Vocal about his desire to see through a Brooklyn move in place since his debut, Lopez remains the longest-tenured Net. The borough's biggest DC fanboy long ago endeared himself to the team's fans with his easy-to-laugh, laid-back personality and on-court talent.
"Brook Lopez is one of the top young centers in the NBA," said King. "We have witnessed his growth as a player over the past four years, and are very pleased that he will remain in a Nets uniform as we begin our new era in Brooklyn."
A skilled scorer who averaged 20.4 PPG in his third season, Lopez played only five games in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign; he broke his right foot in the final preseason game, returning two months later before reinjuring the extremity. Even still, he showed stunning potential as a pick-and-roll option for Deron Williams, notably scoring 38 points on 17-of-28 shooting against the Mavericks on February 28.
For his career, Lopez has posted 17.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 251 games. The 7-footer didn't miss a matchup his first three seasons, despite playing more than 35 minutes per game after his rookie year.
With the roster revamp underway, the Nets sought a rebounding big and were able to bring in one of the best in forward Reggie Evans, pulling him in for a potential future swap of second-round picks. Perennially one of the league leaders in rebounding rate, Evans will provide toughness off the bench.
"Reggie Evans is one of the most tenacious rebounders in the league," said King. "He is a proven NBA veteran and will be an important addition to our front court rotation."
Last season, Evans backed up Blake Griffin in Los Angeles, averaging 1.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in just 13.8 minutes per game. His per-minute rebounding average (0.35) ranked sixth in the league.
This is the trade that brought an All-Star backcourt to Brooklyn. Nets General Manager Billy King's bold stroke -- agreed to in principle during the first weekend of free agency -- not only pulled six-time All-Star Joe Johnson into the fold, but also provided the main reason Deron Williams decided to re-sign rather than bolt for Dallas.
King will send the Hawks Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams and Deshawn Stevenson -- along with Houston's lottery-protected 2013 first-round pick -- to slot Johnson next to Williams. The dynamic pairing should present efficient offensive firepower, while alleviating the stress on each player to produce individually. The threat of each complicates defense on the other.
"We are very pleased to add a perennial All-Star caliber player like Joe Johnson to our roster," said King. "Joe is considered one of the premier guards in the NBA, and his skill and talent level will have a very positive impact on our team."
Though Atlanta's reliance on Johnson's elite one-on-one scoring ability earned him the nickname "ISO-Joe," some prominent NBA analysts believe he can complement Williams' skill set. Grantland's Sebastian Pruiti points out Johnson's 1.91 points per possession on spot-up attempts ranked in the league's 94th percentile; Williams' penchant for passing and ability to play off the ball should offer Johnson open looks and room he wasn't regularly getting in Atlanta.
Johnson has made six straight All-Star Games and seven straight postseason appearances, averaging 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting .444 from the field (.368 3P%) in 11 seasons. He has averaged 20-plus points five times, with a high of 25.0 in 2006-07, and made the All-NBA 3rd Team in 2009-10.
The first domino fell early, whether one looks back to the deadline deal that brought Gerald Wallace to the team or the signing that will keep him here for the next few seasons.
Brooklyn Nets General Billy King believed the 11-year veteran -- known as "Crash" for his willingness to throw himself around chasing the ball -- would be the kind of complementary, winning teammate that could convince Deron Williams the Nets were committed to shifting toward a more positive future. With the cost two injured players and a protected 2012 first-round draft pick (which turned out to be No. 6), King felt Wallace would provide more impact than any player the team could have added in June.
Wallace opted out of his contract at the end of the season, but quickly agreed with the Nets on a new deal. Deron Williams soon followed.
"Re-signing Gerald was a top priority this offseason, and we are very pleased that he will continue to be a Net," said King. "He is a proven veteran who is a leader both on and off the court, and his style of play is critical to the team's success."
In 16 games after the trade, Wallace averaged 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting .385 from three-point range. During a career-year in 2009-10 with the Bobcats, Wallace made the All-Star and All-Defensive First Teams while averaging 18.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks in 41.0 minutes per game.
With one tweet, point guard Deron Williams ended the speculation.
At 7:03 p.m. on July 3, the 28-year-old -- widely considered the NBA's No. 1 free agent -- posted the message "Made a very tough decision today...." Williams attached a photo of the Brooklyn Nets' black-and-white shield.
Williams, who was weighing the Nets' future against that of his hometown Dallas Mavericks, struggled with the options until Nets General Manager Billy King presented his case for the future. The seven-year veteran based his decision on basketball, but had to acknowledge the role of the team's move to Brooklyn.
"I am really excited to be able to officially say that Brooklyn is home," Williams said, in a team statement. "It is an incredible time to play in Brooklyn and to be a part of this organization, the first sports team to call Brooklyn home in over 50 years. I believe in the team and what we are going to be able to accomplish on the court, as well as in the community. My family and I have come to know New York and the more we do, the more we love it. I look forward to going to London to represent the United States in the Olympics and then coming back to Brooklyn to open Barclays Center."
Having committed to the Nets for five years, Williams offers them a lead guard who's made two Olympic rosters and three All-Star Teams while reaching the playoffs five times. Williams has averaged 17.6 points and 9.2 assists in 506 games while shooting .455 from the field and .351 from three-point range.
Though Williams announced his decision early, the deal became official shortly after midnight. He was unable to sign before the NBA lifted its 10-day, league-wide business moratorium.