Thursday, February 21, 2008

Godot showed up - and promptly left

So the deal looked dead. Thus spake Rod Thorn on Tuesday 2/19 with Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Looked dead at 7pm on Monday in Atlanta as Thorn attempted to make his way back from New Orleans.

Then Cuban called.

Now Kidd is corporeally gone as well as mentally gone.

The Nets get Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager, as before. But now Trenton Hassell is thrown in, and, if things were not surreal enough, the Nets also get Keith Van Horn.

Now, it would be weird enough if Van Horn, the guy that Kidd and Kmart sent packing after the 2002 finals, made the deal possible for Kidd to get his ticket out of here. Weird enough that he would come full circle - back to NJ without Kidd, like it was for his first 3 seasons. Weird enough that what the Nets need the most right now - a pure shooter - would fall into their lap.

But what makes it all the more bizarre is that Keith Van Horn is RETIRED. That is, mentally if not corporeally. Altho he didn't play last year, and didn't care to play this year, seems he never actually officially retired, so technically he still was a Mav. Thus the Mavs could trade him. And thus they did.

Of course, in our little dadaist play, nothing is as it seems. Ol' Keith would have to decide that he would come out of unofficial 18-month retirement, go to the Meadowlands and at the very least take a physical. And probably make like he was making a comeback. And then after some amount of time, get waived, and then go back to Colorado and back to his retirement, this time (I presume) officially.

Why in the world would KVH wanna do that to help JKidd try to chase his championship dream? Why would he make all that effort just to wind up right where he is right now?

I'll tell you why - $4.3 million for that effort, that's why!

This is truly the theater of the absurd. Van Horn gets to play the role of the long awaited Godot, who finally shows up - then promptly leaves.

I want the NBA to explain to me why this is any better than Stackhouse being traded, only to be put on waivers, clear them and return whence he came.

It also stretches the definition of the term "retired". Sure, guys retire and un-retire all the time. Ask #23 (or is it 45...?). But at least THEY want to play.

I am told Keith doesn't want to play. So he's coming out of retirement NOT to play. He's coming out of retirement to... retire!

Just as I somewhat stupidly thought that Kidd really meant it when he said he was not asking for a trade, I allowed myself to daydream a bit. Imagine - Van Horn comes back to where it all started for him, has to suit up and play in some games, makes a contribution, wins back some of the accolades of the crowd that once loved him, helps get his team to the playoffs, maybe to later rounds, and then retires in an official ceremony where he acknowledges the fans and they acknowledge him....


Those farewell tours died out 20 years ago. The last credible one was Kareem's. Remember Roger B-12 Clemens' farewell tour in 2003? Used to be a great player from the past might get traded back to where it all began to close out his career, no matter how degraded his game might have become. Mays on the 73 Mets comes to mind.

Then there were those "paper trades" where a guy would get traded back to his original team just so he could retire as a member of that team.

We don't even have that pretense any more.

The name Keith Van Horn, who those 10 seasons ago lit up the Meadowlands with such promise and hope, will now forever be a Trivial Pursuit answer - What retired player allowed Jason Kidd to finally rejoin the team he started with?

Kidd goes back to where it all started for him as a highly touted rookie, in search of a championship.

Van Horn goes back to where it all started for him as a highly touted rookie, in search of a ticket back home - a meal ticket worth $4.3 million.

For one brief shining moment these two men crossed paths - and it led to the NBA Finals.

Then one stayed east, one flew west.

Now the franchise that they played together on is flying over the cuckoo's nest.

Once again.

Yet again.

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