The Dallas Mavericks are bringing back one of the most beloved players in franchise history. Nick Van Exel, who played in Dallas from 2002 to 2003, is joining the team as a pro personnel scout, the New York Times’ Marc Stein reports.
During his season and a half with the Mavericks, Van Exel averaged 12.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, serving as the team’s sixth man. During Dallas’ run to the Western Conference Finals in 2003, he averaged 19.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 46 percent overall and 39.9 percent from deep.
Younger fans may not be familiar with Van Exel’s time on the Mavs. Even though he only played in Dallas briefly, he had a profound impact on those teams. Although he was never awarded Sixth Man of the Year, his scoring punch off the bench became a model for the organization.
He’s also immortalized in pop culture. Jay Z gave a shout out to his handles on Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”
This isn’t Van Exel’s first job with the Mavericks since retiring in 2006. Previously, he was an assistant coach with the Texas Legends in 2014-15. The following season, he was named head coach, replacing former Mavericks great Eduardo Najera.
Since 2016, he’s been an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Van Exel’s return to the Mavericks (he lives in Dallas) does set up a potential for conflict between him and assistant coach Darrell Armstrong. The two of them are huge fans of coffee. Armstrong notoriously used to drink several cups before games during his playing career and can still be seen filling up in the media dining room at the American Airlines Center.
Van Exel, however, recently discovered iced coffee and continuously gushes about it on Twitter. Will he try to convert Armstrong to iced coffee? There’s certainly a clash brewing.