Welcome, DJ Mbenga!!!
As many suspected would happen, the Lakers inked free agent DJ Mbenga to a 10-Day contract. For those unfamiliar with Didier Ilunga-Mbenga, whose career stats don't bear a ton of run since entering the league, a few tidbits. He's from the Congo. He's probably best known for shot blocking. Well, shot blocking and the ability to raise Stu Jackson's dander. While playing for Dallas, he got suspended one game for a flagrant to Lebron (which I'm sure will tickle more than a few of you). As a Mav, Mbenga also got punished six games for entering the stands. In its own right, that's a pretty impressive clip for a dude who's only played 95 games as an NBA pro (I would have played the "in the Congo, we're allowed to do that" card in a transparently lame attempt to escape disciplinary action).
Oh, and I'm pretty sure the "M" is silent.
Also got a couple scouting reports on the big man. The Hoopshype take, then one from ESPN's John Hollinger (apologies to those without insider access).
The official press release from the Lakers is below the jump.
LAKERS SIGN DJ MBENGA
EL SEGUNDO - The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent center Didier “DJ” Ilunga-Mbenga to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
Mbenga, a 7-foot, 220 pound native of the Congo, signed with the Golden State Warriors November 17 after spending three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks prior to their request for waivers on him October 30. In 16 games with the Warriors prior to his release January 6, Mbenga averaged 1.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.63 blocked shots in 8.1 minutes.
After signing with Dallas as a rookie free agent in 2004, Mbenga, 27, played 79 games over three seasons with the Mavericks, totaling 106 points, 75 rebounds and 35 blocked shots in 374 minutes. In his rookie year of 2004-05, he averaged 4.10 blocks per 48 minutes played while improving to 5.00 blocks per 48 minutes in 2005-06. In 2006-07 he was limited to just 21 games after missing the first 16 games of the year with a left foot tendon strain and suffering a torn right ACL 2/7/07 vs. Memphis.
In 95 career games including two starts, Mbenga is averaging 1.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.47 blocked shots in 5.3 minutes.
The Lakers roster now stands at 15.