Eddie Curry and the Bulls are so far apart in talks and philosophy they seem to need a translator. The Bulls are talking about incentives with limited but generous guarantees”generous for a player who may have a heart condition and cannot get his contract insured.
Curry (above, right) is talking about being among the highest-paid players in the NBA with full guarantees. It’s like they’re talking in different languages.
They cannot even agree on whether Curry has a heart problem, though a trip back through Tribune files reveals an item from Feb. 21, 2003, reporting Curry’s mother, Gayle, suffering a “minor” heart attack on Feb. 19. As a result, Curry missed a practice, the story said. Had we heard about family history before? This, surely, is a complicated issue.
A sign-and-trade is one possibility, assuming some team is willing to take a risk the Bulls apparently will not or cannot. Who is desperate for a center who may have medical issues? Ask the Nets about that. Hello and goodbye, Alonzo Mourning.
Minnesota? The Bulls need a big shooting guard with range ¦ do you like Wally Szczerbiak? Perhaps Memphis, another team heading backward. Shane Battier can fill several roles, even if he’s not a classic shooting guard. The Knicks, of course, take all risks and supposedly would do so for Curry, but good luck if you can find someone on that roster you’d really want for a hard-working, defensive-oriented Bulls team. Larry Brown figures to find that out soon.
It’s difficult to imagine the Bulls and Curry reaching an agreement before the season. A clause in the new labor agreement changes the rules and allows trades of fifth-year players on rookie contracts with their permission. But it is so restrictive as to be unlikely. So Curry probably will sign the one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
That might make for an ugly 2005-06 season for Curry here. Some who have seen him say he has let his weight and conditioning return to poor, pre-2004 levels. Bulls coach Scott Skiles, we know, is not a big fan of Curry’s. And that was when Curry was in the best shape of his life.