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Sixers get back to basketball

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Aug. 7
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia 76ers called a press conference and it wasn't to discuss Allen Iverson or Derrick Coleman. Hooray, hooray, hooray, baby! It was about a basketball issue! That must have been heaven for Larry Brown!

Rod Thorn, the sharp Nets' president, made a positive move by not sitting back and living off last year's success.

The Sixers made a major deal by sending Dikembe Mutombo to the Nets for Keith Van Horn and Todd MacCulloch. That's right, Philadelphia got two players it originally drafted, providing some scoring on the baseline. Wow, the last two Eastern Conference champions -- two teams competing in the same division -- made a big deal!

Van Horn gives Brown versatility with his multi-dimensional talent. Todd MacCulloch gives them a solid player in the lane. Not one with spectacular talent, but a guy who will be a role player for the 76ers.

Rod Thorn, the sharp Nets' president, made a positive move by not sitting back and living off last year's success. The Nets feel they could have a better chance with Mutombo in the middle if they face Shaq and company again.

The addition of Mutombo is important because he's a dominant shot-blocking and rebounding threat.

With the combination of Mutombo and Kenyon Martin swatting away shots, it will be tough for opponents to get good looks in the interior. Richard Jefferson will get more PT with Van Horn out of the picture. If Jefferson can add a consistent perimeter jump shot, he can be a solid force offensively. He is dynamite in transition, showing explosiveness.

New Jersey has also improved with the addition of Chris Childs as a back-up to Jason Kidd at the point guard slot. But they'd better get some cash ready to take care of Kidd next year; they need him as the maestro and orchestra leader of the Nets' future. Kidd is the catalyst on both ends.

Stock up for the New Jersey Nets with the addition of Mutombo.

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