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Pending free agent Kris Humphries ready for next move

Pending free agent Kris Humphries ready for next move

Big man Kris Humphries began the 2015-16 season moving outside for the Wizards. Midway through the campaign he was moved from Washington to Phoenix and then Atlanta. With Humphries set to become a free agent this summer, the next question becomes where does the veteran send the moving vans next.

Back to Washington? That seems unlikely, but perhaps more probable with the change in coaching staffs and depending on other options for the Wizards. Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat are the only interior options on the roster.

Back to Atlanta? It certainly sounds like Humphries is game based on his comments during the Hawks exit interview process, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Of course,” Humphries said this week when asked if he want to be back in Atlanta. “It’s been a great experience for me after being traded and ending up here. Coach (Mike Budenholzer) really wanted me here. Being able to get here and have this experience is great.”

Humphries, a veteran of 12 seasons and eight teams, said he has rarely been a part of an organization with such a close-knit group.

“This is high-character guys, great locker room, people who play unselfishly on the floor,” Humphries said. “The way they – we, I’m still saying they a lot – the way we play and move the ball is a fun style of basketball. I think that a lot of guys coming from other teams to this team have had bigger roles, have been trusted to do more. It’s cool. Part of it is beyond basketball, comradery, time on the plane, dinners.”

He actually signed with the Hawks after the Suns bought out the remainder of his contract soon after acquiring Humphries in a deal that sent Morris to the Wizards.

Humphries proved helpful for Atlanta during the regular season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14 minutes over 21 games. Yet similar to the previous year in Washington, Humphries was largely phased out of the postseason rotation until the Hawks used him more during the final two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal loss to Cleveland.

The experience during the 2015 playoffs with Washington led to Humphries expanding his game with 3-point shooting, but ultimately teams needed a rebounding presence might find him most attractive.

If he returns to Atlanta, Humphries knows one part of his life he'll change.

“It only took me 10 minutes to get here today,” he told the AJC. “I live 5.5 miles away. On a game day, it takes an hour. I have to move closer I guess. Five miles is too far.”

If traffic is a primary issue, don't expect Humphries back in Washington regardless.

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How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

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MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!