Blog Entry

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

Posted on: October 13, 2010 2:49 pm
Posted by Royce Young

I'm not entirely sure this is what Chris Paul had in mind when he asked the Hornets to do some damage in free agency.

According to's Marc Stein, former two-time champion D.J. Mbenga is in New Orleans today working out for the Hornets. Things are expected to go well and Stein says the two sides are close to a one-year agreement.

Mbenga hasn't been much more than an end-of-the-bench practice player in his six NBA seasons. The most minutes he's played a game in a season was 7.9 in 2008-09 with the Lakers.

Reports have had Mbenga close to signing in a number of other places including Portland, Indiana and back with the Lakers among a few others. So I'm not believing this one until I see it. 

But here's the thing: The Hornets could definitely use him. Inside, New Orleans has Emeka Okafor and David West starting. No issues there. But behind them, it's Aaron Gray and newly acquired Jason Smith. So yeah, maybe Mbenga doesn't seem like such a minor signing now. The Hornets are thin on the inside and while Mbenga isn't going to blow anyone away, he may be close to inking with a team he might actually see minutes for.

Last season, Mbenga appeared in just 49 games and averaged 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. At 29, he probably doesn't really have a ceiling to reach towards, other than maybe getting legitimate minutes to prove what he can really do. If he does latch on with the Hornets and cracks the rotation - which he should do - then maybe Mbenga can actually make a small impact. I mean, he does have two championship rings you know.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2010 9:58 am

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

It was a joke. I understand it's New Orleans, but who calls it NOLA? Never heard that before in my life.

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2010 7:24 pm

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?


Well said, I don't think any Laker fan can say one negative thing about Mbenga.  Whenever he was called upon he was ready and gave it his all, and it didn't matter if the game had already been decided.  I thought that Portland would probably make a move for Mbenga due to the recent injury of Jeff Pendergrapgh, torn ACL (out for season).  But with Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden returning in late October they probably don't have room to carry him for the entire season.  There will always be an opening somewhere for a 7 ft center in the NBA and Mbenga has proven to be a hard worker and team player so its no surprise that several teams are interested in his services.
I remember when the Lakers signed him to his original 10 day contract and now he has two Championship rings.  He's not the most talented or athletic player in the league but he gets the maximum out of his abilities.  He's fulfilling a dream of playing in the NBA and making a nice annual salary, congrats D.J. and continued success!

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:23 pm

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

DJ has two rings, but by NBA standards, he just hasn't earned the respect for them.  Don't get me wrong; I think DJ has the moxie to be a decent player in the league, but no NBA team is going to really give the guy that big of a chance to show what he can do.  At best, DJ will be a second / third string "filler" player.

DJ has an upside in that he's a legit 7-footer who can run the floor, pass the ball, and yes, block shots.  He did that in Dallas and in L.A., so he definitely can do likewise in any NBA market.  I get the impression that DJ wants to prove that he "belongs" in the NBA, and he wants to "flex" his muscles a bit.  Dallas never gave him the chance and L.A. certainly hasn't either.

Unfortunately, DJ will need to go to a team that is literally in the NBA cellar, or close to it, and one that needs a big athletic body to plug the middle for them.  He'll definitely give you six good fouls a game, but he isn't the type of Center who will be able to give you 15 points and 12 rebounds every night.  Yes, he has potential, and in L.A., he's a fan favorite, as unlike most guys in the league with his size, he actually tries to play TEAM ball.  Off the court, he doesn't do the stupid, mundane things that so many of the NBA headliners do.  He's a mellow giant with decent ball skills.

So bottom line is I wish him well in whichever team he opts to play for.  He should ride his "brief" popularity for as long as he can.  He'll definitely be in the league "somewhere", but just don't count on him being that major contributor that so many teams in the league need.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:21 pm

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

You're kidding right?  New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA) --NOLA

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:19 pm

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

Where the heck is NOLA?

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2010 5:33 pm

D.J. Mbenga to NOLA?

I wish D.J. Mbjenga well and hope he latch onto a team that can give him more minutes than he was ever gonna get while a Laker.

One thing that can be said of this basketball player is that he is a complete team player and will not embarrass the team or the organization.

He has two NBA championship rings and have played with the best basketball player in the NBA today. Therefore I think he would take this experience to any team that would
need a post man.



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