PHILADELPHIA -- Once again, a team is hoping Dikembe Mutombo can help it win an NBA title.
In a major trade involving the past two Eastern Conference champions, the Philadelphia 76ers sent Mutombo to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday for forward Keith Van Horn and center Todd MacCulloch.
The deal improves New Jersey's defense and Philadelphia's offense and sends two players -- Van Horn and MacCulloch -- back to the team that originally drafted them.
"With the addition of Mutombo we have the potential to be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "To get a player of that ilk was something we felt we should do."
New Jersey made it to the NBA Finals last season for the first time in franchise history after joining the league 26 years ago. But the center position was a weak spot for the Nets and they were unable to stop Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mutombo, a 7-foot-2 center who led the NBA in rebounding in 1999-00 and 2000-01, was acquired by the Sixers at the trading deadline in 2001.
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-- From wire reports