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NBA / Feb 22, 2008 / 11:19 am

Just Go Away

He had a perpetual whiny face from the second he came into the League. And I can just imagine Keith Van Horn with the same exact whiny mug sitting in his (assumed) palatial estate in Colorado when Rod Thorn called to tell him that he was going to be paid $4 million in order to consummate last week’s Jason Kidd/Devin Harris trade. The only stipulation was that Keith has to be in New Jersey for a few months and occasionally play some basketball at practice in order to get his loot. The horror.

By all accounts, it seems like the Nets had to beg Van Horn to come collect his stack. Now, granted, I don’t know what his situation is at home, but I haven’t seen one mention of any good reason why a mediocre-at-best player shouldn’t be ecstatic at the prospect of magically infusing his bank account with $4 million that he didn’t have last week. One of the reasons Van Horn gave for leaving the NBA in the first place was that he wanted to spend more time with his family. So a massive amount of money that can be used for his family/his kids’ futures isn’t worth two months of work?

And this today in the Newark Star-Ledger is just ridiculous:

“He’s going to come in, we’ll work him out and see if he can get in shape,” team president Rod Thorn said this week. “He’s here. But we are not going to make him available for interviews.”

This, of course, is because Wilt Chamberlain will suit up for the Nets this season before Van Horn does (Wilt, coincidentally, is also not available for interviews). Van Horn is truly living the new American Dream, being paid — quite handsomely — not to work. He will earn $4.3 million for not playing the rest of this season, or $75,439 per day over the final 57 days of the regular season.

It isn’t quite the latest Mega Millions jackpot, but who could turn down free money? Well, Van Horn almost did. When it became clear that one of the most convoluted trades in NBA history hinged on him signing off on his big payday, he needed “some quiet time to reflect on it,” according to his agent, David Falk. That might have been the silliest part of this whole episode, if not for the loophole that allows it.

Most trades are only completed pending a physical examination. This one required an exhumation. The 32-year-old Van Horn had not played in nearly two years, content to spend time with his family and new business interests in Colorado with no intention of ever lacing his sneakers again.

Later on the column gives us this:

What is Van Horn thinking? Good question. His assistant in Colorado said he’s not giving interviews. The Nets won’t say when — if ever — he’ll be available. He has a room registered in his name at a Meadowlands hotel, but according to the operator, he never checked in.

“Haven’t seen him,” the doorman said, “but it’d be good to see him in a uniform again.”

Van Horn did stop at team offices on Wednesday for a brief visit. “I saw him in street clothes,” head coach Lawrence Frank said. Did he look like he could actually play basketball? “I don’t know,” Frank said. “It would be very unfair to comment. We’ll just have to see.”

Chances are, we never will. Van Horn, the No. 2 pick in the 1997 draft who was immediately traded to the Nets, will write this bizarre ending to his relationship with his first team away from the spotlight. He played five up-and-down years here, got run out of town after the first trip to the NBA Finals, and now “returns” in the deal that helps Kidd leave town.

He gets $4.3 million for his efforts and might never break a sweat — nice work if you can get it. What a country. What a league.

He needed time to reflect? He’s not talking to anybody? He’s playing 007 games so that no one knows where he’s staying?

Come on, dude. Unless you’re ashamed of the highway robbery, cut it out.

To read the full Star-Ledger article go HERE.

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  • control

    If they really needed a tall goofy looking white guy who can pout and play like a pussy…I was available. I would even get gatoraid for the players and stuff.

  • Celts Fan

    haha nice Control.

    biggest shocker in this: Keith Van Horn has an assistant!?!

  • f6

    sound like he was happy in be in colorado, and was part of the deal b/c its huge pay day for little work…it sounds like he doesnt want tp play, i wonder if jkidd ever called him to explain that he has a shot to win the nba title if kvh would consent to the trade…i doubt kvh care very much if he plays or not…seems like he focused on his businesses….anyone know what businesses he run?

  • Kobeef

    Hopefully the Nets and VanHorn don’t “pull a stackhouse” and screw-up this arrangement by saying the truth.

    The NBA would be mightly pissed (like fine issuing pissed) if Keith or the Nets came out and said that he was signed with a clear understanding that there is no chance in hell that he will ever play for the Nets.

    I wonder if Mark Cuban deducts that $4.3 million from Stackhouse’s salary?

  • SpecialK

    Mr. Cassidy: Normally I like your work, and always appreciate your insight. Even here I appreciate the points you raise but I firmly disagree. How can you bash KVH for mulling this deal over? Isn’t that his right? I can’t believe I’m defending the guy but why is it his responsibility to jump in a trade after he’s retired? Sure the payday is sweet but unless you have intimate knowledge of his financial situation or his appreciation for wealth, how can you judge that?

  • SpecialK

    Also, what’s wrong with taking some time to think this over? I’m sure he knew the media would jump all over him and use this as another opportunity to bash his mediocre career. Also, I have a bad contract as much as the next fan, and no doubt KVH had a lot of them, but I’m sure you remember that Hornets series when he was in PHI, he showed up there. Now I know, he’s a max paid guy playing like a mid-level player, but if Dime offered you a 100% salary bump you’d turn it down? I guess that logic sort of doesn’t make sense after he almost turned down this deal, but my point is just this… we don’t know enough about the situation to bash dude. He’s had enough.

  • SpecialK

    Also, it was his intention to just “Go Away” right? And yes, I feel very uncomfortable writing three posts defending Keith. Appreciate your work. Take care.

  • Dime Magazine

    SpecialK –

    thanks for the feedback. I definitely hear what you’re saying in terms of not having intimate knowledge of his situation, but that’s something I said in the post. I definitely don’t pretend to know what his bank account looks like.

    a big problem I think though is that he’s not technically retired. Van Horn never filed papers with the League to officially retire, that’s why the Mavs were able to do this in the first place. if he really just wanted to go away for good, he would have filed and disappeared, right?

    – PC

  • SpecialK

    Fair point, and that’s also fair citing that you did mention that in the article. Again, I’m not a KVH apologist, I just feel like it’s his right to marinate on the decision for a while before jumping right on 4 million dollars. I also feel that he takes a lot of unfair criticism, and always has, for contracts that he negotiates. With 16/7 career numbers, that’s more than serviceable. It’s nothing to write home about but I never understood the hate he put up with throughout his career. Not that you were doing that in your piece just saying… From Steph to Kenyon. He’s an “is what he is” player. It’s not his fault he was labeled the next Bird or got the money, although to be fair, it’s on him he disappeared in a lot of big games. I think the Mavs may have been better suited keeping him in shape and holding Harris and the picks.

  • Smitty313

    I looked up Keith Van Horn on basketball-reference.com he made over a 112 million in his NBA career. So that 4 million is chump change to him. Kobe made only 107 million in his NBA career so far.

  • http://GeeC2.com GEE… you should be happy your trailer park has wi-fi

    Don’t be mad at Keith, if anything be mad at the NBA.

  • http://www.theverticalsummit.com Vertman

    Van Horn was a very good player that I should now be calling great. He never got the tick or the shots that he deserved! I wish Bird could have worked with him.

  • sam

    yo cut the guy a break. he takes the 4 mil and he gets sh!t from people like you saying he’s doing nothing for the 4 mil. if he doesn’t take it, he gets sh!t from others saying he’s an idiot for turning down that much money.

    that being said, i wouldn’t mind being in his shoes but it’s not a scenario he created for himself. it’s a product of the CBA and contractual rules of the NBA.

  • dbullough

    If all of you could have seen Kieth Van Horn come up as I did, as a young player for the University of Utah under coach Rick Majeris, you wouldn’t be as critical of him. He was a very exciting player and contributed to the sucesses of the U of U’s basketball program. He is a very nice young man and in my estimation, deserves the wealth that basketball has given him, with lots of hard work along the way, on his part. Don’t be so jealous of someones sucesses!!