Skip to main content

VAN EXEL BEFORE HIS TRADE TO THE NUGGETS "See you again when I come in here with 40"


Nick the Quick is quite the jokester. Only one time, he took it too far. It became a catalyst for the Lakers to trade him to Denver, as to this day, the 1-2-3 Cancun fiasco remains the most poorly timed joke in NBA history. But wait, there's more.

Before the trade happened, Van Exel was already on thin ice with the Lakers' GM Jerry West. He had already given up his starting spot to inferior Derek Fisher, under the pretext of doing it for Fisher's good. But LA's front office didn't see it as such. Nick was quitting on the team - that was their interpretation of things.

“Well, I’m sure they’re going to look at it as far as trying to get me out of there, blame it on me as an excuse. Derek, throughout the season, his confidence was going up and down, up and down. So I figured if he was starting, his confidence would be up. I’m always going to have confidence. I guess they didn’t see it that way. I guess they felt I was giving up.”

Nick Van Exel, LA Times

I guess that was Nick pledging for the Lakers' future, letting a young kid develop at the expense of his time on the floor. Now I'm not sure what to think of that. It may or may not be true, but the fact is ever since Nick voluntarily embraced the sixth-man role, the whole climate around him and the organization changed. And Van Exel himself had felt it.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

That's when he started making jokes, embarking on a slippery slope that eventually led to his move from LA. That's when another Nick the Quick classic happened, as he basically announced his revenge game after he leaves the Lakers.

“I say things all the time as far as, ‘Well, this is my last game with you guys. See you again when I come in here with 40,’ just to keep guys loose and laughing.”

Nick Van Exel, LA Times

Now, Nick, you can tell it was all fun and jokes, and that you've put it upon yourself to be the team's fun guy. But the fact is, you wouldn't have joked about it if you hadn't felt something was up. And for months before the deal happened, you could sense something happening. And it did, as Nick got traded to the Nuggets for Tony Battie and Tyronn Lue.

In terms of him dropping 40 on his former team, Nick the Quick did it in his first game at the Staples. He had a 41 points performance, as the Nuggets lost 117-104. Nevertheless, the Lakers had no answer for their onetime teammate. Nick went 14-for-26 from the floor and 11-for-13 from the charity stripe for an efficient scoring display. But he did more than just put the ball in the basket. Nick also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 9 assists, rounding up one of the greatest revenge games in NBA history.

When jokes turn to prophecies, thanks to the magic of Nick Van Exel.

Bol Bol

Paolo Banchero compares Bol Bol to highly-touted prospect Victor Wembanyama - “Bol’s a freak of nature”

Banchero tried to avoid comparing Bol to Victor Wembanyama, but outlined the similarities between the star prospect and the new member of Orlando's frontcourt

Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet believes the Toronto Raptors would have three-peated had Kawhi Leonard stayed with the team

VanVleet said that had Leonard stuck with Toronto, the Raptors could have three-peated by winning the 2020 and 2021 NBA Finals

Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas playing against the New York Knicks

"Everybody wants to play in the Garden, besides the Knicks" — Gilbert Arenas goes in on New York Knicks fans

Gilbert Arenas breaks down why superstars don't want to play for the New York Knicks

Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley

"Patrick Beverley in the playoffs is an issue" — Iman Shumpert speaks on Patrick Beverley's value to the Los Angeles Lakers

Not everyone can see it right now, but Shumpert understands the importance of Pat Bev to the Lakers.


"It was an unmitigated slaughter calling out Shaq on everything" — Kobe Bryant savagely criticized Shaquille O'Neal in an unreleased statement

Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck talked about at the unpublished Kobe interview where he apparently ripped Shaq like never before.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

"He’ll give you the shirt off his back" — Juwan Howard's Michael Jordan story reveals the other side of Black Jesus

Juwan Howard expected to get trash-talked to death upon seeing Michael Jordan in Los Angeles.