Sun, Nov 14, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Chicago wants to trade Eddy Curry

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Six teams contacted the Bulls about the No. 4 overall pick from the 2001 draft after his agent issued a trade demand

AP , NEW YORKAP, ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Dikembe Mutombo, right, of the Rockets, defends against Eddy Curry of the Bulls in Houston, Texas on Oct. 21.

PHOTO: AP

Asked who might be the first big-name player to be traded this season, New York Knicks president Isiah Thomas answered Eddy Curry and Philadelphia 76ers president Billy King guessed Kurt Thomas.

They might both be correct.

Six teams reportedly contacted Chicago about Curry on Thursday after his agent issued a trade demand and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was said to have OK'd the notion of parting ways with the No. 4 overall pick from the 2001 draft.

"I'm not going to be intimidated or persuaded by any agent who goes public and tries to do what he thinks is right for his client," Bulls general manager John Paxson told reporters in Chicago. "I think it only hurts him and doesn't do us any good either. They went about things the wrong way.

"And I won't just do something to make any kind of move. It's going to have to make sense for us."

Curry is being paid US$3.9 million this season, his last under the rookie salary scale. He will be a restricted free agent after this season, giving his team the right to match any offer he receives on the open market.

But which team will have that right?

New York, Phoenix, Minnesota and Memphis are some of the most obvious teams with a desire for a new center, the Knicks having soured on Nazr Mohammed, the Suns making do with Jake Voskuhl and Jackson Vroman, the Timberwolves tired of waiting for Michael Olowokandi to contribute steadily, and the Grizzlies dissatisfied with Lorenzen Wright and Jake Tsakalidis.

Curry has been a disappointment for the Bulls, who selected him and Tyson Chandler straight out of high school with two of the first four picks in the 2004 draft.

Former Chicago general manager Jerry Krause, who dealt Elton Brand to the Clippers for the draft rights to Chandler, later made the disastrous move of sending Ron Artest and Brad Miller, both of whom became All-Stars, to the Indiana Pacers for Jalen Rose.

Curry lost nearly 18kg over the summer, but the Bulls never offered him an extension and dared him to prove he's worthy of a long-term investment.

"Until Eddy's not a part of our organization, we have to find a way to get him going, get him playing, get him believing," Paxson said.

Curry, who banged his right knee at practice Thursday and underwent an MRI, has backed off from his agent's comments and now says he does not want to be traded.

Curry, 21, averaged 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds last season as the Bulls went 23-59. His three-year record with Chicago, entering this weekend, was 74-175.

If Curry is traded, the Bulls likely would package him with another player or two. Paxson would be eager to include Antonio Davis, who makes US$12 million both this season and next. Pairing Curry with the expiring contracts of Othella Harrington (US$3.15 million) and/or Frank Williams (US$957,000) would be a more likely scenario.

New York could be an aggressive player in the bidding for Curry, but Isiah Thomas wouldn't want to make too hasty a move if he thought it might cost him a shot at Vince Carter or Chris Webber.

One of the Knicks president's most tradable commodities is Kurt Thomas, who makes US$5.4 million but has a 15 percent trade kicker in the contract extension he signed last spring.

Following the Knicks' buyout of Shandon Anderson, Kurt Thomas is one of the few remaining links to the tenure of Scott Layden, the team president ousted 10 1/2 months ago. Another holdover is Allan Houston, who has yet to even scrimmage with the team while slowly making his way back from chronic knee soreness related to the effects of microfracture surgery.

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