Eddy Curry: Team Player To the Hilt

A Daily Babble Production

Professional hoopsters are making me laugh a lot lately.  I can't help it.

Two weeks ago, Chris Bosh and Shaquille O'Neal did the honors with their respective comments about how Shaq is officiated and how he can put up 40-plus points on a nightly basis.

Cue Eddy Curry this time around.  Just in case the Knicks' lovably (for opposing fans) large center's tenure in the Sizable Apple had failed to provide me sufficient entertainment, the $60 million man stepped to the mic last Sunday.  From the New York Post's Marc Berman:

Eddy Curry, back practicing with the Knicks, said in his first interview in a month he'd support getting traded if it meant the best for the Knicks' future.

"I've been here a long time," Curry said before the Knicks lost 106-101 to the Nets last night at Izod Center. "I want to see us get better. If it takes my contract to do it, then I would hate to leave, [but] if it results in the Knicks getting better, I'm all for that."

Seems like there is a bit of irony here in Curry's sudden transformation to anything-for-the-team guy, especially when accomplishing this task would require some magical work from someone else, namely Donnie Walsh.

When Curry arrived in New York in 2005 armed with a mega-deal, there was plenty for him to do to help the Knicks.  He was expected to be the team's center of the future, a big body with athleticism and youth on his side as well as the chance to work with Larry Brown, one of the premier coaches on the planet.

Showing up to camp in shape would have helped the team.  Busting his tail up and down the floor would have helped the team.  A rebound here and there wouldn't have hurt.  Some semblance of defense (closing out on his man, a successful boxout, making a correct switch on a screen just once, blocking a shot, anything, really) could have done the trick, too.

Thus far into his time in town, Curry has adequately completed none of those tasks.  He seemed to be consistently growing wider through much of his first three seasons.  Never once did the 6-foot-11, 285-pounder top seven rebounds per game.  Nor did he block so much as a single shot per game.  He played zero screens correctly.  I'm not sure that's an approximation.  As bad as the Knicks have been defensively for the past few years, they were at least five points per 100 possessions better with Curry off the court than on it over the past three seasons.  Considering who his teammates were, that's a testament to his defensive ineptitude. 

Only once did the offensive-minded Curry score more than 14 points per game as a Knick in that span.  He was often the tenth man down the floor in either direction, getting a run for his money only when Zach Randolph joined him on the floor.  Meanwhile, his gigantic deal clogged the Knicks' payroll and kept them in salary cap purgatory.

Given his size and athleticism combined with the putrid results attained in recent memory, perhaps one can see why it's hard for me to take too much stock in Eddy's claim that his concern is what's best for the team.  When he had a substantive amount of power over what was best for his team, he sure didn't seem too concerned.

Sure, Curry could do a bit of work from here to get some minutes and raise his abysmal trade stock by playing well for a brief spell.  But the majority of the burden for successfully dumping him will belong to the Knicks' front office.

Berman's full piece is worth a read, and Curry does say the right things about returning to the team: He respects coach Mike DAntoni and his teammates and wants to earn his way back into the rotation.  Can't argue with that, but again, it'll be more believable when it is visible.

In the meantime, just one more note from Berman before we let this one drop:

Curry also said he is eligible to opt out of his contract after next season, something the Knicks would love him to do.

But that would seem improbable the way Curry's career has plummeted to rock bottom. Curry would leave $11.2 million on the table.

Improbable.  Mmmhmm.  It looks like the odds on Curry declining any contract options he has are...excuse me while I break out my trusty abacus...ah, right, a jillion to one.

Thanks for the chuckle, Eddy.

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