October 23, 2014

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Cavs back out, won’t make deal for Kris Humphries

It fizzled even faster than it seemed to form.

Apparently, the Cavaliers won’t be trading for Nets forward Kris Humphries after they didn’t accept terms of the deal. (AP photo.)

A potential four-team blockbuster trade that would have brought Kris Humphries and a first-round pick to the Cavaliers while sending superstar center Dwight Howard from Orlando to Brooklyn is apparently not going to happen.

Reported as close to complete by Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com on Monday, the trade seemed to fall apart Tuesday in large part because the Cavs, who never confirmed they were completely involved to begin with, couldn’t get what they wanted.

Apparently never sold on the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Humphries as a player worthy of a contract that would pay him about $10 million a year over three or four seasons — and also wanting to maintain their substantial salary cap flexibility — the rebuilding Cavs wanted the 27-year-old to agree to the minimum three-year sign-and-trade deal, but with the huge stipulation that only the first year be guaranteed.

All along, it was probably highly unreasonable to expect Humphries, who played under a one-year deal last season while averaging career highs of 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds in 34.9 minutes a game, to agree to such terms.

Cleveland already has Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Samardo Samuels at power forward, so Humphries’ playing time probably would have been cut. That could have resulted in him putting up smaller numbers, being waived after one season and ultimately being forced to accept a smaller contract from another team next summer, when the free agent market is expected to be much stronger.

The Cavs, however, had nothing to lose by asking — or at least listening. They were in the trade talks to get something that benefited them, not just to facilitate a deal that would get Howard out of Orlando.

When Humphries and agent Dan Fegan apparently balked at such a contract — Fegan told Sports Illustrated that just one year being guaranteed was “ridiculous” — the Cavs reportedly pulled out of the trade talks.

It’s largely semantics, but it’s probably more accurate to say the Cavs were never that deeply involved.

They were probably willing to pay Humphries big money for one year — and get rid of Luke Walton by sending him and his $6.1 million contract to Orlando — largely so they could get another first-round pick. When things didn’t go exactly as they had hoped, the Cavs declined to go any further.

Under the original reported terms of the deal, Cleveland also would have gotten point guard Sundiata Gaines from the Nets in a sign-and-trade, 32-year-old swingman Quentin Richardson from Orlando, plus a lottery-protected first-round pick — the year was never revealed — and $3 million from Brooklyn.

Orlando also may have decided to see if it could get more for Howard than three first-round picks, center Brook Lopez in a sign-and-trade and Walton. That was reportedly what the Magic would’ve received in the original four-team deal, which also involved the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Magic is reportedly exploring deals with the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and maybe even the Atlanta Hawks, though there is still a slight chance Charlotte or Minnesota could step in for the Cavs and complete the original four-team trade.

There were also reports Orlando and New Jersey might try to work out a two-team deal.

Tip-ins

  • The Cavs were rumored to be on the verge of a draft-night deal that would have gotten them Charlotte’s No. 2 pick, which they presumably would have used on Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal. Like the four-team deal involving Howard, it never came to fruition. On both occasions, all the rumors presumably came from outside the Cavs organization, as general manager Chris Grant is extremely tight-lipped about everything.
  • Fegan not only represents Humphries, he’s also Howard’s agent.
  • Power forward Antawn Jamison, who earned $15.1 million with the Cavs last season, told The Charlotte Observer he’s leaning toward signing with the Bobcats, but will take another week or two to decide.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.