Depending on who you ask, the Phoenix Suns got sick of Scott Skiles’ voice months or years into his coaching tenure. Since rebounding from an 0-9 start, Skiles’ performance with the Bulls has been an unqualified success, but there’s still friction between him and one of Chicago’s young stars writes the Tribune’s K.C. Johnson.
In a phone interview, Curry said he planned to talk to coach Scott Skiles on Monday about playing a combined 2 minutes 58 seconds in the second half of the Bulls’ last two games, including back-to-back fourth-quarter benchings.
“I just want to play and do think at times I’m on a shorter leash,” Curry said. “Sometimes I do think about playing elsewhere, but that’s mostly when I’m frustrated and when stuff happens to my minutes and nobody has an explanation for it. You have to question it.
“I don’t regret what I said [Saturday] night because I think people know I say those things when I’m frustrated. But on Monday, I’ll focus on beating a [Milwaukee] team that is behind us in the standings and we need to get a win against.”
General manager John Paxson committed to Curry (above, right) for the long term when he let the Feb. 24 trade deadline pass without action. Curry will be a restricted free agent this summer, and Paxson has consistently stated his intent to match any and all offers for the fourth-year center.
That underscores Paxson’s commitment to Curry. Coaching to win games, Skiles hasn’t shared that commitment in crunch time recently.
Reached on Sunday, Paxson downplayed the situation and shrugged off questions about whether he agrees with Skiles’ usage of Curry.
“I don’t consider this much of anything anyway,” Paxson said. “It’s only been two games. We’ve been through ups and downs with every player over minutes. That’s just a natural thing on any team. We still have good chemistry and a good group. We just need to win a couple of games.”
Curry failed to grab a rebound in 15 minutes against San Antonio on Friday night. He played 16 minutes against Milwaukee, again struggled with defensive rotation and was beaten to offensive rebounds by the Bucks’ big men.
Curry has been a model citizen much of this season. But coaches have noticed small signs of slippage. A consistent passenger on the first of two team buses for individual pregame work at road games, Curry recently has started taking the second bus.
This could be a sign of Curry’s frustration. He has told teammates he is often singled out for blame but rarely singled out for compliments. And one close friend of Curry’s said that last week’s comments from team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stung Curry.
In a radio interview, Reinsdorf said there’s no guarantee the Bulls will pay Curry big money this summer. Atlanta is one team with tons of salary-cap room that should have interest in Curry.