NEW YORK, October 9, 2003 ? New York Knickerbockers President and General Manager Scott Layden announced today that the team has signed free agent center Dikembe Mutombo. As per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"Adding a shot blocker and rebounder of Dikembe's caliber to our team dramatically improves key areas that we were looking to upgrade," Layden said. "His basketball resume is so impressive that having the chance to add him to our club was something we were not going to pass up. In addition to his superior skills on the court, Dikembe is a role model that all of young players will look up to and learn from."
Mutombo, 7-2, 261-pounds, is the NBA's sixth all-time shot blocker with 2,873 rejections and is the only player in history to be named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year four-times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001). He was named to the All-NBA second team in 2001 and the third team in 1998 and 2002. A three-time NBA All-Defensive first team selection and three-time second team selection, Mutombo ranks first in blocked shots among active players.
"I know Dikembe very well through the years and there is no question he'll fit right into our system and thrive," Head Coach Don Chaney said. "There aren't many players in NBA history that can change the course of a game as much as he does."
Mutombo, an eight-time NBA All-Star, was waived by the New Jersey Nets on Oct. 5 after appearing in 24 regular season games last season, averaging 5.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.54 blocks. He missed a total of 56 games due to torn ligaments in his left wrist. Mutombo appeared in 10 playoff games, including six NBA Finals games versus the San Antonio Spurs, to average 10.3 minutes and record totals of 10 points and 17 rebounds.