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76ers trade C Mutombo to Nets

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia 76ers traded 7-2 Dikembe Mutombo to the New Jersey Nets Tuesday for forward Keith Van Horn and center Todd MacCulloch.

A four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Mutombo was acquired by the 76ers at the 2001 trading deadline. He helped carry them to the NBA Finals, where he squared off against Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Mutombo did as well as anyone could against the game's best player, averaging 16.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while matched up against O'Neal as the Sixers lost in five games.

The Nets supplanted the Sixers as Eastern Conference champions and also encountered the Lakers in the Finals. MacCulloch was unable to slow O'Neal, who averaged 36.3 points and demoralized every defense thrown at him.

The Nets felt they needed another star to complement All-Star point guard Jason Kidd, who can be a free agent at the end of the 2002-03 season. They may have gotten one in Mutombo, although they will pay a pretty penny for him.

Last summer, Mutombo, 36, signed a four-year, $68 million contract. He becomes New Jersey's highest-paid player and is signed through the 2004-05 season, an issue in the luxury tax era.

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Van Horn is entering the third year of a six-year, $73 million extension. MacCulloch just completed the first year of a six-year, $34 million deal. It will be somewhat of a homecoming for both of them.

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