NBA

Humphries agrees to stay with Nets

New Jersey Nets' Kris Humphries dunks against the Orlando Magic
Kris Humphries averaged a double-double for the Nets last season.
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NEWARK, N.J.

Kris Humphries is getting back together with . . . the New Jersey Nets.

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STAYING BUSY

What did NBA players do during the lockout? You may be surprised.

The power forward was back in New Jersey on Wednesday after re-signing with the Nets, a one-year deal worth a reported $8 million.

I'm excited to be back,'' said Humphries, who was working out in Minneapolis while trying to secure a new contract. ''It's good to see the guys again. Although it's a one-year deal, I'm happy and motivated. I think if you ask any player, they all would want a max contract with the longest terms. But I'm happy with the deal and glad to be back.''

The 26-year-old Humphries went through an eventful offseason, despite an NBA lockout that kept players away from their jobs longer than expected.

Humphries married reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and 72 days later the couple split up.

Asked what was different now than when he was last with the Nets in April, Humphries said: ''Well, there is a lot less paparazzi here.''

''I definitely had a lot going on. It was a learning experience. I hadn't been through anything like that before. Life just happens. As long as you're focused and pay attention to life, everything is easier. I learned that I put my faith in God, my family and basketball. I feel now like I'm home again.''

He got a harsh welcome back to the NBA on Wednesday night with a serenade of boos when he checked into the Nets' 88-82 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. He played six scoreless minutes of the second quarter, staying on the bench in the fourth as chants of ''We want Humphries! We want Humphries!'' broke out.

''I felt like Rudy,'' Humphries said.

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FREE TO GO

Who were the top 10 free agents and where did they sign?

The 6-foot-9 Humphries enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Nets last year, averaging 10 points and 10.4 rebounds in his second season with New Jersey, more than doubling his career averages. He was fifth in the NBA in rebounding.

He went through the free agent process and fielded offers from other teams.

''But this is where I wanted to be,'' Humphries said. ''There were other options, but I was just waiting for things to come together here.''

Humphries said that he had several conversations with Nets general manager Billy King throughout the negotiation process. Nets coach Avery Johnson said that he also spoke to Humphries a few times over the last two weeks.

''I talked to Billy throughout the whole free agency process,'' Humphries said. ''We both always wanted this. It was all about just figuring it all out. I'm happy to get it done.''

Johnson said that he was glad to have Humphries back, because the Nets were thin at power forward.

''It's going to take the next few days of practice to get him back, but we're thrilled to have him back,'' said Johnson, who guided the Nets to a 24-58 record last year in his first season in New Jersey. ''It goes with the plan of having continuity. By no means are we in the mode of being satisfied with our roster. We have some work to do. But I think we'll be more ready for Opening Day now.

''It's a relief to have him.''

Humphries' teammates felt the same way.

''It's good to have a guy who knows the system and knows what we're doing,'' point guard Deron Williams said. ''We know he's going to be in good shape and ready to go. We know he's going to get rebounds and play good defense. He's a high energy guy in many ways.''

Humphries said he's ready to put the circus atmosphere involving his failed marriage and the free agency status behind him.

''I'm a positive thinker about everything in life,'' Humphries said. ''I always want to think positive about the things I can control. I am moving forward with everything just being here.''

Tagged: Nets, Kris Humphries

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