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MavKikiNYC
02-25-2004, 09:10 PM
Thomas and Wilkens, like Coach BS last year, are giving Mutombo the shaft.
Sure wish he were in Dallas, so NELLIE could be the one giving him the shaft.

I hate Isiah.

Mutombo Is Unhappy With His New, Nonstarting Role
By LIZ ROBBINS

Published: February 25, 2004


SACRAMENTO, Feb. 24 Dikembe Mutombo sensed a change was coming before he heard about it. He could tell that Isiah Thomas wanted younger athletes to fit Stephon Marbury's game.

When Thomas told Mutombo before the trading deadline that he wanted to go in a different direction whether by trading him or having him come off the bench it confirmed what Mutombo was thinking.

Mutombo, a prideful veteran, expressed his discontent at a shoot-around when he learned that Nazr Mohammed would start against the Kings on Tuesday night.

"I'm feeling like I have enough of this game," Mutombo said. "Just 13 years, man, you're getting tired of this."

Mutombo, 37, has seen it before, most recently last season with the Nets, when he and Coach Byron Scott clashed over his role and his playing time both before and after he missed four months because of wrist surgery.

This season, Mutombo is averaging 6 points, 7 rebounds and 1.98 blocks in 24 minutes a game. In the last three games, he has averaged 9.6 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Knicks Coach Lenny Wilkens, who coached Mutombo in Atlanta, bluntly recognized what others had only been subtly suggesting. "He's not what he was five years ago," Wilkens said. [Editorial note: Ironcially, observers say the same thing about Wilkens.] In the 1998-99 season, Mutombo averaged 10.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.94 blocks.

"I think they need me," Mutombo said. "It just a matter of the direction that they want to take. I knew it was going to be a change. Like a week ago, a couple days before the trade, Isiah mentioned something to me about it. He said they want to go in a different direction, either me coming off the bench or getting traded."

Once the deadline passed and he was still in New York, Mutombo was relieved, temporarily.

"I have a question about it," Mutombo said. "If there's a sense of the direction that the team must go, I will respect that. Then I will have to make my own decision, if I want to keep playing or what I want to do."

Mutombo is the last of Scott Layden's acquisitions to remain on the team. Layden signed Mutombo in October shortly after the Nets agreed to a buyout of the $35 million remaining on his contract. Mutombo chose the Knicks and their two-year, $8.5 million deal over Philadelphia, where he and his family live. This season he has been productive at times, even winning player of the week at the end of November.

The next week, Coach Don Chaney started him but did not play him much, citing matchup problems. Wilkens did not play Mutombo for that same reason against a quick Dallas team two weeks ago, even though forward Kurt Thomas was ejected early.

"Two games ago, he started out really well, he blocked some shots and rebounded," Wilkens said. "If you have to come down to where you rely on him for a lot of points, then you're in trouble. We can't do that."

Mohammed, 26, has played in only two games since the trade. He started 73 games three seasons ago with Atlanta, but he knew this was different because of the playoff implications for New York.

"Dikembe's a great guy," Mohammed said. "He's seen every part, being in New Jersey last year not starting, not playing that much, to being a starter. He's still professional, talking to me, telling me things."

Wilkens acknowledged that neither Mohammed nor another newcomer, Tim Thomas, was comfortable yet.

"Some teams get together and it takes them a whole year to really know one another," Wilkens said. "They haven't been here a week. It's just not something that will happen overnight."

The Knicks have 24 games left in the regular season, and after losing four of their last five games, they need to incorporate their changes as soon as possible, starting with Mohammed.

REBOUNDS

ALLAN HOUSTON said he was close to returning. "I just want to make sure that I get some kind of scrimmage, whether I'm playing some two on two," he said, adding that he wanted to gauge how he felt after an intense workout.

aexchange
02-25-2004, 10:11 PM
while i like mutumbo, he's old and creaky.

he may be able to help against grind it out teams like san antonio or maybe LA but i dont know if hes got much left in the tank.

MavKikiNYC
02-26-2004, 12:40 AM
This season, Mutombo is averaging 6 points, 7 rebounds and 1.98 blocks in 24 minutes a game. In the last three games, he has averaged 9.6 rebounds and 3 blocks.

I sure wouldn't mind seeing that kind of production alonside Bradley.

It's moot though, I concede. Nellie will never scheme his team that way such that players like Bradley and Mutombo matter beyond being novelty acts.