Dikembe Mutombo: "I don't want to talk about a buyout"
Dikembe Mutombo: If there’s any contract talk going on between my lawyers and management, I don’t know about it. I don’t want to talk about a buyout. I don’t really know the definition of buyout. It’s not like you’re buying a car. I don’t even want to get involved in a buyout situation. I don’t see it happening. It’s never been discussed with me. They never came to my face with it.
How do you feel about management and coach Byron Scott saying that with four centers on the roster, one of them will have to be moved before the season?
DM: I’m here to fulfill my duty of playing basketball and enjoying my life and career. It’s up to the coaches to make the decisions about who’s playing.
What do you think about having to fight for your job?
DM: That’s what the NBA is all about. You have to fight for your job. If you don’t want to fight, you’d be working at McDonald’s or Burger King. There’s always a new challenge every year. I’ve seen that every year in my 12 years in the league. That’s part of the game. If you don’t feel a challenge, you’re not playing the game.
Do you see yourself finishing your career with the Nets?
DM: I got two years left on my contract, and I’m hoping to come out and finish my career strong and see if my body can hold up.
How do you feel about being reunited with your former teammate at Georgetown, Alonzo Mourning?
DM: I’ve been out of New Jersey for awhile so I haven’t played with him yet, but we talked on the phone a lot this summer. Him coming back is great. We get a chance to play together again.
Is there a special memory you can recall from your days with Alonzo at Georgetown?
DM: There was a game – I think against St. John’s – where I blocked like 12 shots and Alonzo blocked like eight or nine.
Do you think there’s a possibility of you two playing on the court at the same time this season?
DM: I think that opportunity will be there – as long [both] of us are here.
You came in last year as sort of a savior, but ended up getting hurt and not having much of an impact. How tough of a season was it for you?
DM: It’s hard to define last year. I got hurt at the beginning of the season and I ended up spending almost the next six months sitting and watching my teammates playing. This season, I’m just trying to get myself mentally and physically ready.
What do you feel are the Nets chances of finally bringing home a championship?
DM: I give us a good chance to have an opportunity to win. We were there last year, but we lost the opportunity. Hopefully everyone can remember how we got there, and we can do something very special.
Do you think you’ll be here this season?
DM: Speculation always goes around, and all you do is sit down and relax and see what happens. Instead of putting so many thoughts in your mind that makes you lose some sleep, or wondering what’s going wrong with your life, you can’t let that bother you. I don’t want to put myself in that situation. If I have to play here, fine. If I have to play somewhere else, at least I get to play basketball.
Have you given any thought to the possibility of getting released by the Nets?
DM: My job is to go out and pay basketball, regardless of what happens. At least in this league, you are guaranteed that you’re getting paid. It’s not like football where you get cut and lose your contract. [My] contract is guaranteed and that is great. I love America.
Jason McIntyre is a a freelance journalist in New York City and a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
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