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Nets' Kris Humphries quiet on upcoming free agency

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TOM CANAVAN | June 29, 2011 04:59 PM EST | AP

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HACKENSACK, N.J. — With the NBA on the eve of a potential lockout, New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries didn't want to talk about his upcoming free agency.

Reality television. Fiancee Kim Kardashian. A change of agents. They also were out of bounds for the NBA's fifth-leading rebounder this past season.

What Humphries wanted to talk about was his 45-minute visit with young patients Wednesday at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at the Hackensack University Medical Center.

"I think one thing that everyone has to know is that no one is beyond hospitals and that everyone is somehow connected to someone who is struggling," Humphries said. "I have had family members deal with cancer and all sorts of diseases and different things. So it's something you have to know. It could very well be your kid in there someday."

Humphries smiled thinking about two unidentified children he met on his walk down the corridor of a pediatric unit.

"There was one kid up there who's talking about when we score a lot of baskets and get on fire," he smile with a slight laugh. "It was exciting to hear that, so hopefully, he can come witness the Nets get on fire."

The other child was a little girl.

"I told her to tweet me," Humphries said. "I told her I was going to re-tweet her and wish her well on Twitter. Hopefully, she'll do that. I had a lot of fun."

Humphries seemingly wanted nothing to do with sports during his five minutes with the media.

"I know you guys have a bunch of questions, but mostly I want to center it around my experience here and knowing that life isn't all just about sports and free agency and stuff like that," he said. "It's a lot about giving back. A lot of people are in need, so try to focus on that today."

Humphries, who is a Nets player representative, provided no information about the negotiating session he attended last week in New York with the owners.

"We have the lockout to deal with," he said. "Who knows if that's going to go into effect or not? I was a part of the meetings and, so, we'll have to see what happens with that before free agency. I think that that has to be taken care of, so there's not a whole lot to say about free agency, because you know, there's the first step first."

Humphries greatly enhanced his value with an outstanding season. Prior to the season, most expected him to be the backup to Derrick Favors, the No. 3 pick in the draft who was eventually traded in the deal for Deron Williams.

But Humphries, who earned $3.2 million in his walk year, averaged 10 points and 10.4 rebounds in 74 games, including 44 starts.

During the course of the year, he repeated several times that he wanted to return to the Nets. However, he would not address the topic Wednesday.

His new agent, Marc Cornstein, did not return a call from The Associated Press, seeking comment.

"We have to take care of the lockout first, and from there, my agent's going to handle the process and lay everything out," Humphries said. "So it's kind of real (and) it's a little bit difficult to think about right now. I'm still kind of in a different mode, in terms of being here for the kids. And that's really my focus.

"I don't want to take away from that."

Humphries was not asked about his recent engagement. And the closest he came to talking about Kardashian was when he said the children definitely identified him as a basketball player and not a reality TV actor.

"I'm tall," the 6-foot-9, 26-year-old forward said. "We're in Jersey. The kids love basketball and the Nets. One kid was talking about he goes to hockey games (Devils) and he goes to basketball games at the same place. So he's in touch with what is going on."