The Knicks, say sources, are prepared to sign Dikembe Mutombo when he clears waivers 48 hours after the Nets release him. Having spent $900,000 of their $4.9M mid-level exception to free up second-round pick Maclej Lampe, Camp Cablevision is expected to bestow two-plus years guaranteed on Deke to compensate him for what he gives up ($10M) in his Nets settlement.
As reported earlier this week, Mutombo would rather return to Philly, where his family still lives. Yet, those in the know say the 76ers, guided by economics ($4.9M would put them into luxury-tax danger) and positive vibes about their current frontline, aren't interested in renewing acquaintances.
Mutombo retains comparable sentiments concerning the Raptors, Pacers and Mavericks, who've all expressed interest; they're too far away from home. His position is subject to change without warning, of course, should one of those teams ante up three full years at $4.9M.
Should the Knicks snare Mutombo, look for Scott Layden to acquire Nick Van Exel ($11.9M) for Kurt Thomas ($5.445M), Charlie Ward ($6.08M) and cash (to help offset the point guard's 15 percent trade kicker) to the Warriors, who almost certainly would exercise his $2M buyout.
I think Van Exel wants his name in big bright lights and what better way to do it then in New York's big market. I feel bad for Golden State, but Kurt Thomas will surely fill the void left behing by Jamison and Charlie Ward is a reliable enough PG. Plus, why would GS want a disgruntled Van Exel.