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Bulls GM Paxson not gloating about Curry trade

5/24/2006 - NBA Chicago Bulls

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- John Paxson was angry and made no effort
to hide it. Training camp was about to start, and the Eddy Curry
standstill had just come to a jarring conclusion.

Paxson walked into the gymnasium during the Chicago Bulls' media
day in early October and asked reporters to let him "ramble."
Three minutes later, after announcing he had traded the center to
New York, the general manager left without mentioning who else was
involved in the deal and without taking questions.

In hindsight, maybe it wasn't such a terrible day for the Bulls.
The draft is June 28, and Chicago landed the No. 2 pick in
Tuesday's lottery thanks to that deal, although Paxson didn't take
any bows.

"The New York papers were all over asking if I felt
vindicated," he said Wednesday. "It's not anything about that.
Last year was a very hard summer. We had tried to work something
out [with Curry]. It was a difficult time. It got to a point where
I kind of felt like nothing was going to get resolved. There was
one team out there that was willing to do a deal and I basically
said this is how it's going to be done."

The Bulls sent Antonio Davis with Curry, who had refused to take
a DNA test to rule out a potentially fatal heart condition. The
Knicks included second-round picks in 2007 and 2009, and forwards
Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney and Jermaine Jackson. Chicago also got
the right to flip-flop first-rounders next year if it finishes with
a better record than New York.

The trade initially looked like a major blow for the Bulls, who
struggled for much of the regular season before ending with a 12-2
run to finish 41-41 and reach the playoffs for the second straight
year. Chicago then put up a fight against Miami before losing in
six games in the first round.

Meanwhile, Curry averaged 13.6 points and 6.0 rebounds. And the
Knicks' reward for finishing with the NBA's second-worst record
went to Chicago, which appears to be in an enviable spot.

The Bulls are young and deep on the perimeter. They expect to
have about $15 million to $20 million in salary cap room, meaning
they can shop the free-agent market. They could fill their need for
a scoring big man in the draft or, maybe, in a trade package
involving that pick. Chicago also has its own pick at No. 16.

Paxson said the Bulls were "lucky" to land the No. 2
selection.

"We didn't do it with the belief that we were trying to win a
deal or get the better of a deal," he said. "That's never been
the issue with me. ... It was about our decision in trying to do
the right thing for Eddy. When we realized that couldn't happen, we
decided to make the deal."

Now, the Bulls have to make some decisions.

If they keep the second pick, they will likely use it on a big man. That could be 6-foot-9 Tyrus Thomas, who averaged 12.3 points and 9.2 rebounds for LSU, or 6-10 Texas sophomore LaMarcus Aldridge, the Longhorns' second-leading scorer and rebounder at 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds.

"There are more than just those two in this draft," Paxson
said.

Another possibility is Italy's Andrea Bargnani, who is drawing
comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki. And a big man with shooting range
would fit in with the Bulls.

"There aren't many 7-footers who can shoot it from the 3-point
line like he can," Paxson said. "One of the reasons we had
success was we ended up getting two guys in [Darius] Songaila and
Malik Allen who can make shots."

Note:
G Chris Duhon underwent surgery to remove a herniated disc
in his lower back Wednesday at Rush University Medical Center.
"He'll be fine this summer," Paxson said. "Training camp is not
an issue."

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