Nickey Maxwell “Nick” Van Exel (born November 27, 1971) is a former American professional basketball player who is currently the head coach for the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League.
In a 13-year NBA career, Van Exel played for the San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers.
In Dallas, Van Exel played a smaller role, but contributed effectively by creating scoring opportunities and scoring key three pointers. He averaged 12.5 ppg during the 2002–03 season, and nearly 20 ppg in the 2003 playoffs, carrying the offensive load for the Mavericks in a tight series against the Sacramento Kings, scoring 36 and 40 points in back-to-back wins in games 2 and 3.
Van Exel was traded on August 18, 2003 to the Golden State Warriors along with Evan Eschmeyer, Avery Johnson, Popeye Jones, and Antoine Rigaudeau in exchange for Antawn Jamison, Chris Mills, Danny Fortson, and Jiri Welsch. During the 2003–04 season he played in a career low 39 games, averaging 12.6 ppg and 5.3 apg.
On July 20, 2004, he was traded by Golden State to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Dale Davis and Dan Dickau. With the Blazers he played in only 53 games, averaging 11 ppg.
Van Exel was waived by Portland on August 3, 2005, and he signed with the San Antonio Spurs on August 29. After signing, Van Exel stated that it would be his last season in an NBA uniform. Due to knee and elbow injuries, he only played in 65 games during the 2005–06 season. He averaged career lows in almost every statistical category, including points (5.5 ppg) and minutes (15 mpg). In the playoffs, San Antonio was knocked out a seven-game series by the Dallas Mavericks. Two days later, on May 24, 2006, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon reported on their show Pardon the Interruption that Van Exel would soon announce his retirement.
Career highlights and awards
NBA All-Star (1998)
NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1994)