Just Go Away

02.22.08 10 years ago 14 Comments

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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