Nuggets Add D.J. Mbenga

Didier Ilunga-Mbenga has a special spot to most fans in the NBA, but especially in most Nuggets fans hearts. He was on the receiving end of Ty Lawson’s infamous dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

Now the Belgian media is reporting that Mbenga has reached an agreement of a 1-year deal with the Nuggets. Mbenga was on the Lakers roster when they won their two titles and was on Dallas Mavericks team when they advanced to the finals (he was suspended due to entering the stands to help coach Avery Johnson’s wife).

Interesting enough, the Nuggets have now acquired the two least valuable big man in last season NBA Finals – Mbenga and Shelden Williams. Mbenga has played with the Lakers, Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. For his career, Mbenga has played in 193 games with a career average of 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds a season.

He is a very good shot blocker with great timing and is a quality offensive rebounder. He has a good shot for a big man, but terrible hands and coordination.

It is hard to see  what is role will be with the Nuggets, but it most likely won’t be decided until Carmelo Anthony’s fiasco is decided. Right now Mbenga, Al Harrington, Renaldo Balkman and Williams will bid for time next to Nene while Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin are on the mend. Mbenga at least gives the Nuggets size that they lacked after Johan Petro left as a free agent.

On the personal side, Mbenga can speak five languages and is a black belt in Judo. He was born and raised in Zaire (also where former Nuggets’ center Dikembe Mutombo came from), where is father was a government official and was imprisoned after the government switched regimes. Mbenga’s father negotiated to have his sons, who were also imprisoned and were supposed to be executed, where D.J. fled to Belgium.

Tags: Al Harrington Chris Andersen D.J. Mbenga Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets Didier Ilunga-Mbenga Dikembe Mutombo Golden State Warriors Kenyon Martin Los Angeles Lakers NBA Finals Renaldo Balkman Shelden Williams Ty Lawson

  • Rex

    “Right now Mbenga, Al Harrington, Renaldo Balkman and Williams will bid for time while Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin are on the mend”.

    You forgot to mention Nene…

  • madness

    I don’t think Nene’s injury is that bad. And I think his minutes are set in the lineup.

  • justin

    Kenyon Martin has an expiring contract. Can they trade him for more help and convince Melo to stay…

  • justin

    How about this trade:

    New Nuggets Roster:


    Cavs get expiring contracts.
    Nuggs get better, rid themselves of a cancer, and lessen their luxury tax hit.

  • JR

    Man, I love that trade. Jamison is just a team player and he is a consistent scorer. Perfect class act for this squad.

  • Frank

    What’s great about that possible trade is that Al Harrington as a sixth man can provide the offensive spark that JR Smith provides, minus the headaches and the drama.

  • madness

    I’d sign off on that deal if I’m the Nuggets, I’m a big fan of Jamison and he’d definitely help now that K-Mart is out. However, there are some complications to the deal but nothing that says it is impossible.
    1. Karl likes using players that bring something different to the floor (D Jones/JR, Afflalo/JR, Sam Perkins/Ervin Johnson) and Al and Jamison have very similar games. However, with K-Mart out, you can’t really bench players as talented as Al or Jamison.
    2. Scott was JR’s first coach and it didn’t take long for Scott to lose patience with Smith and deal him for a pair of second round draft picks. And as Nuggets fans we all see why, but Cleveland was interested in JR in the past and he’d definitely entertain the crowd. Also, with Jamahl Mosley on the coaching staff he might tell Scott to take a chance on JR. Mosley has worked with JR a lot. And who to say that the Cavs wouldn’t just outright waive JR. Needless to say it will help the Cavs in the long run.

  • Adam Louis

    That trade NEEDS to happen.

  • Misslo

    Remember, Jamison is 34 years old. Age doesn´t stack as well on big men as it can do on guards/wings. 34 for a big is almost retirement.
    And while agreeing on Smith being a complete tool at times on/off the court, he still IS the best wildcard in the nba. With Coach Karl back in charge (AD couldn´t handle Smith) I´d like to see the Nuggets give Smith another go (Last year on contract anyway.. trade him in Feb if he doesn´t work out).

  • DH

    Did you just describe a 7′ guy who’s a black belt in Judo as having terrible coordination? Even if you’re right, I would keep using an alias if I were you!

  • Trisha M

    Didier Mbenga is not 29 yrs old. The guy could be in his mid thirties, maybe 35 or 36.
    Don’t think that he is being truthful to the league. His age needs to be investigated.
    Thanks, he is no longer with our great team the Lakers.