Powell, Mbenga Back for 2009-10

ts_090701powellmbengaPower forward Josh Powell and center D.J. Mbenga will remain on the Lakers’ roster for the 2009-10 season after L.A. opted not to terminate their respective non-guaranteed contracts by the July 1 deadline, according to Lakers spokesman John Black.

Powell and Mbenga each had a year left on their contracts, and since neither was acted upon, the 6-10 and 7-0 post players are guaranteed through the coming season.

Powell averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11.7 regular season minutes and 2.1 points with 1.2 boards in 5.2 postseason minutes during L.A.’s championship run. He showed his value when afforded ample playing time, highlighted by a 17-point, 9-rebound performance on March 11 at Houston when the Lakers were without Andrew Bynum (injury) and Lamar Odom (suspension).

Mbenga won the rights to L.A.’s third center position as the Lakers sent Chris Mihm to Memphis for a draft pick, and made the most of his 7.9 minutes per game in the regular season by blocking 1.04 shots in that time. He even inspired his own cheering section of the upper deck with fans often sporting “Banging with Mbenga” t-shirts.

Mbenga will join the Belgian National Team this summer in preparation for EuroBasket 2009, while Powell, star of J-Peezy’s Playlist, is currently working out in his hometown of Atlanta.