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Nets Give Van Horn Extension

Keith Van Horn, the cornerstone of the New Jersey Nets' future, and Jamie Feick, the surprise of last year's disappointing season, reached agreements Sunday on new multi-year contracts.

The Nets rewarded Van Horn for leading the team in scoring in his first two years by giving him an NBA maximum-length, six-year contract extension valued at roughly $73 million. The deal will keep him under contract until 2006.

Keeping Feick, who was a free agent, was a bonus. The Utah Jazz also sought his services after he led the Nets in rebounding in the lockout-shortened season.

"Keith is obviously one of the premiere young players in the league and Jamie is an emerging player," Nets general manager John Nash said Sunday in a telephone conference call.

Locking up Van Horn was a no brainer for the Nets, who missed the playoffs last season as coach John Calipari was fired after the team lost 17 of its first 20 games.

"It was an automatic, quite frankly," Nash said. "We said from the beginning, there was no mystery about the fact that Keith is one of our more important players and so from the first opportunity we had to talk to him and his representatives, we wanted to do everything in our power to maintain his services."

Van Horn, a 6-foot-10 power forward with the moves of a small forward, averaged 20.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in his first two seasons. He led the team in scoring each year, averaging 19.7 points as a rookie and 21.8 last year.

Van Horn was in Switzerland and was not available for comment.

"I am excited about the basketball future of the Nets," he said in a statement released by the team. "When we picked up Stephon (Marbury), he was the last piece of the puzzle to build a championship team."

Van Horn, who has had hand surgery since the end of the season, scored 20 or more points 28 times last season and recorded a career-high 35 points Feb. 16 against Detroit. He shot just under 43 percent from the field, including 30 percent from 3-point range, and was just under 86 percent from the free throw line, including a streak of 48 in a row.

Feick, 25, was one of the surprises of last season. He averaged 6.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in 28 games with New Jersey, getting the bulk of the playing time after Jayson Williams broke his leg.

Williams has been slow in recovering from the injury, which forced the Nets to put even greater emphasis on signing Feick.

"I thought Jamie was a priority signing outside of (Keith), for a lot of reasons," coach Don Casey said. "He gives us additional depth and secondly, if Jayson at either position would need some support or while waiting for him to completely heal, think Jamie established himself last year."

Agent Keith Glass did not return a telephone call seeking comment on Feick's contract.

The Nets reportedly offered Feick a middle-class exception starting at $2 million with annual increases for six years, making the deal worth about $15 million.

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