Van Exel biggest name as NBA trade rumors heat up

Van Exel biggest name as NBA trade rumors heat up

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (Ticker) — With the NBA trade deadline fast approaching, Nick Van Exel remains a member of the Denver Nuggets — and could be with them for a while.

Van Exel, who twice this season has asked the Nuggets to trade him, reportedly has changed his mind and now is unwilling to waive the last two years of his contract, valued at $26.5 million, in order to facilitate a deal.

Tony Dutt, Van Exel’s agent, told ESPN that his client would not waive the last two years of a seven-year, $77 million deal Van Exel signed.

With concerns about bulging payrolls and the luxury tax, teams are reluctant to take on players with long, escalating contracts. Van Exel is scheduled to make $12.8 million and $13.7 million.

Teams have until 6 p.m. EST on Thursday to finalize trades.

Van Exel, 30, is averaging 21.4 points and 8.1 assists in 45 games this season, his ninth in the NBA. He has a penchant for making clutch shots but also for shooting too much and sulking.

Van Exel asked for a trade privately in training camp and publicly in December. Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe has tried to accommodate him and told the Rocky Mountain News that he has a deal on the table — if Van Exel waives the last two years of his deal.

That deal could be with Boston. There are reports that the Celtics have offered guard Kenny Anderson and rookie swingman Joe Johnson in a package for Van Exel. But the Boston Herald reported that the Celtics would not make the deal unless Van Exel waived the final two years of his contract.