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Old 07-27-06, 07:23 PM
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Nuggets keeping Van Horn in mind for shooting role

Nuggets keeping Van Horn in mind for shooting role

By Chris Tomasson, Rocky Mountain News
July 27, 2006

If the Nuggets want Keith Van Horn, they should plan on being patient.

David Falk, Van Horn's agent, said Wednesday the free agent forward continues to be on a lengthy fishing trip in Alaska. During the second week in August, Falk plans to have "a summit meeting" with his client about his future.

That future could include the Nuggets.

"I don't think there's any question I want a shooting big (man) next year," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We need somebody to get people off (Carmelo Anthony). I would lean more toward a veteran. (Van Horn) has got to be one or two on that list."

Falk said a "number of teams" have expressed interest in the 6-foot-10 Van Horn but wouldn't be specific. Falk said it helps the Nuggets' cause that Van Horn lives in Evergreen.

"I would say that is attractive," Falk said.

Falk said he has talked with Karl "a number of times" about Van Horn. Karl believes the nine-year veteran would fit in well with his new spread offense.

Van Horn must take a big pay cut after making $15.7 million with the Mavericks. The Nuggets, who have 12 players under contract for $61.6 million and don't want to pay the luxury tax after $65.4 million, don't appear willing now to pay Van Horn much more than $2 million.

Falk wouldn't comment on salary or the possibility of a sign-and-trade. With disgruntled Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin on the block, there has been speculation Van Horn could be included in a deal with a high-priced Mavericks player such as Erick Dampier or Jerry Stackhouse for Martin.

Director of player personnel Mark Warkentien wouldn't comment on free agents. Warkentien is the Nuggets interim basketball point man whom Karl expects will remain in that role.

Interest in Van Horn might hamper chances of free agent forward Reggie Evans returning. He's said to be asking for hefty dollars.

The Nuggets did get one deal done Wednesday. As expected, swingman Yakhouba Diawara signed a guaranteed two-year, $1.1 million contract.

"His integrity absolutely jumps off the page," Warkentein said. "He agreed to a minimum deal with us, and then was offered more money, but he turned it down. How often do you see that type of human being?"

Diawara, undrafted from Pepperdine in 2005, rejected a two-year, $1.8 million offer from Dallas. The Paris native played well last season for France's JDA Dijon Bourgogne and Italy's Climamio Bologna, which received a $500,000 buyout.

"I can't wait to get started," said Diawara, who will work out in Denver the month before the Oct. 3 start of training camp.

Diawara considered joining France for the World Championships before opting to play for the Nuggets in the (Las) Vegas Summer League. He then won them over.

"I made the right choice," he said.

ETC.: Indiana assistant Chad Forcier, 33, has emerged as a strong candidate to be named a Nuggets assistant. Forcier was an intern and special assistant for Seattle from 1992 to 1997, when Karl coached the SuperSonics. Karl wouldn't discuss names, reiterating he is not in a hurry to replace Scott Brooks . . . Karl said he has not given up on becoming part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's believed Karl's group, led by Ohio businessman Jim Renacci, bid $140 million, with Karl willing to provide 10 percent. A group led by Connecticut businessman Samuel Fingold was reported to have bid about $175 million, and it has exclusive negotiating rights for about one month. But Fingold might want to move the team. If that is squashed, Renacci's group still could emerge with the Penguins . . . Regarding the Nuggets' third point guard, Warkentien is optimistic Julius Hodge can fill the role, while Karl said Anthony will play some point forward.
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Old 07-27-06, 07:27 PM
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"He could possibly be better than Tim Duncan."
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