|Najera Trade Nets Humphries,
Williams from Mavericks
By Ben Couch – NJNETS.com
January 11, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—The Nets’ front office has been stating for some time now that their goals are to get younger and collect assets while maintaining flexibility for the upcoming free agency period. Monday, they made a trade that accomplished all those things, bringing in forwards Kris Humphries and Shawne Williams from the Mavericks in exchange for Eduardo Najera.
The 24-year-old Humphries, expected to take backup minutes at power forward, is considered the deal’s main acquisition. He's an athletic 6-foot-9 forward known for his rebounding, which should help the Nets in an area of weakness (they've been outrebounded in 24 of 25 games). Humphries left Minnesota after his freshman year, was selected by the Jazz with the No. 14 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, and has averaged 4.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 313 games with Utah, Toronto and Dallas. In 25 games with Dallas this season, Humphries had posted 5.6 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 12.6 MPG.
“In this case, there are several reasons (for making the deal),” explained Nets President Rod Thorn on a Monday conference call. “We’ve liked Humphries, and his rebounding potential. He’s still relatively young, so we’ve always wanted to get a look at him if possible. From a cap standpoint, if you look at the overall deal, that’s something we looked at. But we obviously need help rebounding, and that’s probably the forte of Kris.”
Humphries’ contract includes a player option for next season (which he’s expected to exercise), but terminates after that, in the summer of 2011. The 33-year-old Najera has two seasons remaining on the four-year deal he signed in 2008. Limited by injuries throughout his 1 ½ seasons as a Net, Najera appeared in 13 games (2 starts) this season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.7 minutes.
Williams, 23, is a former first-round pick, having been drafted 17th out of Memphis in 2006 by the Pacers. Though the 6-foot-9 forward has been inactive for all of the Mavericks games this season, Williams holds career averages of 5.2 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 126 games with Indiana and Dallas. Thorn indicated that the Nets do not plan to waive him, as has widely been reported, instead choosing to analyze Williams’ potential first-hand.
“If you go back to his Indiana days, he had several good games against us, for one thing,” Thorn said. “He’s a talented player who has good size. He’s a good all-around type player. We’re gonna take a look at him now, and we’re looking forward to that too.”
To make room for the 2-for-1 transaction, the Nets released forward-center Sean Williams to waivers, 2 ½ years after selecting him out of Boston College with the No. 17 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. The forward finishes his Nets career with 4.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 1.2 BPG in 126 games. A prolific shot-blocker, Sean Williams started 29 of 73 games as a rookie, leading the team with a 1.4-block average in only 17.5 minutes per game.
“He had the unique timing, jumping ability, that you’d think by this time he’d establish himself as an NBA player,” Thorn said. “He was never able to do it with us. He’ll become a free agent in a couple days and we’ll see what transpires with him. He certainly has the talent and he’s a nice enough young man. Hopefully it works out.”
Thorn also said that the Nets remain in active conversations with other GMs as they continue to pursue short- and long-term solutions that align with their stated goals.