Where will Mutombo go?

By Thursday or Friday, a mob of teams will begin a wild, wild race to acquire Dikembe Mutombo.

Updated: October 6, 2003, 10:28 AM ET
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
This summer, we introduced you to Dikembe Mutombo the person.

Now meet Dikembe Mutombo the player. He's 7-foot-2. Eighty-seven years old. The four-time Defensive Player of the Year has played 12 years in the NBA. Last season, he played only 24 games. It was the first time in his career that he played fewer than 74 games. It didn't take long for Nets officials to figure out why the Sixers were in such a hurry to trade Mutombo for anything the previous summer.

Whispers that Mutombo was spent have been floating around the league for months. After the Nets landed Alonzo Mourning in July, the Nets started to get proactive about speeding up what looked like a long, long goodbye.

Sometime today or Tuesday, the Nets are expected to announce that Mutombo, the guy who was supposed to help the team win a championship, will be bought out. Rod Thorn is going to pay Dikembe something in the neighborhood of $27 million NOT to help his team win a championship.

Sometime around Thursday or Friday, once Mutombo clears waivers, a mob of teams (already setting up base camp at the foot of Mt. Mutombo) will begin a wild, wild race to reach the summit first.

NBA teams need size. Mutombo could be 187 and teams would still make the effort as long as he stands in the middle, blocks some shots and waves that little finger at his terrified opponents.

Who will win the race for Mutombo? Insider breaks down the top contenders. Remember, money still matters. Mutombo ate essentially $10 million in guaranteed money to get bought out. He and David Falk will be looking to recoup that money if they can.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

ALSO SEE