WALTHAM, Mass. — Kris Humphries doesn’t get it, but he gets it. He knows his relationship with Rajon Rondo is a source of amusement after their physical altercation spilled into the stands during a game in November. At the same time, he knows better than to call their run-in a “fight.”
Humphries is from Minnesota, after all, a region that shares some of New England’s passion for a sport that does feature actual fighting.
“Not quite like hockey,” Humphries said. “In hockey, something would’ve really happened and there would’ve been no fines.”
It didn’t take long for Humphries and Rondo’s brief history to come up Monday, when the Celtics introduced Humphries, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans in a news conference at their practice facility. (Gerald Wallace, who also came over in the trade that sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Nets, was attending to the youth basketball camp he runs in the summer. Kris Joseph was waived less than two hours later.) Humphries, who has grown accustomed to being surrounded by cameras in the last couple of years, was a good sport.
“I knew it was coming,” he said, drawing laughter, in response to a question about Rondo. “It just took a few questions to get there.”
Rondo and Humphries have not spoken since the incident or since the trade, Humphries said, but he claimed it will not affect their relationship if they indeed are teammates this season. With Humphries due to make $12 million in the final year of his contract and Rondo drawing interest around the league, it is possible one or both could be traded well before the season arrives.
Should both remain in green, however, they have a teammate ready to facilitate the relationship — and bust some chops along the way.
“Me being a Kentucky guy, Rondo being a Kentucky guy, I can kind of be the mediator,” Bogans said. “I know how he feels. I’ve been wanting to beat up Kris for a long time. But he’s my friend the next day.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge expressed no worries that Rondo and Humphries might harbor ill will toward each other. Ainge can’t be too judgmental, either. Humphries teased Ainge about his own history of on-court altercations — the infamous “Tree Bites Man” incident in the 1983 playoffs, for one — when the two met on Monday. Humphries sounded ready to bury the hatchet whenever he and Rondo finally meet face to face.
The memory won’t die, though. Definitely not. Bogans won’t let it.
“That’s something we’ll laugh about throughout the whole year: ‘Damn, Hump, remember that time Rondo was about to kick your ass?'” Bogans said. “It’ll be something I can have fun with all year.”