DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Bulls dealt center Eddy Curry to the
New York Knicks on Monday, ending a contentious negotiation in
which Chicago insisted the restricted free agent take a DNA test
over a heart problem.
Chicago also sent veteran center Antonio Davis to the Knicks,
who traded away forwards Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney and
Jermaine Jackson. Several draft choices also changed hands in the deal,
according to an executive in the Eastern Conference who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
The trade was expected to be finalized Tuesday.
In making the announcement, an obviously frustrated Bulls
general manager John Paxson did not specify what Chicago got in
return and he did not field questions.
"We will have an announcement tomorrow morning," Bulls public
relations director Sebrina Brewster said Monday night. "All we can
say right now is we traded Eddy to the Knicks."
Knicks spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz said the team declined
comment on Paxson's announcement.
The Bulls had insisted that Curry take a DNA test to determine whether he's susceptible to a potentially fatal heart problem.
Curry, who missed the final 13 games of the regular season and the
playoffs after experiencing an irregular heartbeat, balked, saying
it violated his privacy.
"I would never put a player on the floor in a Chicago Bulls
uniform if I didn't do everything in my power to find out all the
information that was available," Paxson said. "You can debate
genetic testing 'til you're blue in the face. But from what I know,
from what I've learned over the last six months, that test could
have helped us determine the best course of action."
Curry, drafted right out of high school, averaged a career-high
16.1 points in his fourth NBA season.
The standoff stemmed from a benign arrhythmia that caused Curry
to miss the final 13 games of the regular season and the playoffs.
Several prominent cardiologists cleared Curry to play, but Barry
Maron, a world-renowned specialist in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,
suggested the DNA test.
Paxson has said he understands the privacy issues involved but
insisted the Bulls do not have an ulterior motive; they simply do
not want a situation similar to those of former Boston Celtics
guard Reggie Lewis or Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers -- players
with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy who collapsed and died.
Paxson, speaking during the team's media day, told reporters the
Bulls had offered Curry $400,000 annually for the next 50 years if
he failed the genetic test.
"So he would have an above-average lifestyle that would put him
in a position that most other people aren't in," Paxson said.
"Our intention through that whole process was to show him that we
did care about him and that we were concerned about his
Curry's agent Leon Rose did not return calls seeking comment
Paxson said he resented insinuations that the Bulls were on a
sort of witch hunt, trying to find information on Curry.
The general manager started by asking reporters to "let me
ramble a minute." After a long pause, he said, "This has been
about as uncomfortable and unusual a situation I could ever
imagine. We've attempted from Day 1 to do the right thing, and I'm
absolutely confident that we have in every way we went about it.
And in a lot of ways we've met resistance in trying to gather all
the information we feel we need."
About three minutes later, Paxson said, "From a basketball
standpoint, I understand what I'm doing. But I have an obligation
to this organization and the people I work for to do the right
thing. And I did the right thing. That's all I've got to say."
Then, he walked away from the table.
That Curry and the Bulls parted was not shocking, given the tone
of the negotiations.
Curry played a major role as the Bulls won 47 games and reached
the playoffs for the first time since 1998 -- when Michael Jordan
and Scottie Pippen led them to their sixth NBA title.
"It's tough," said power forward Tyson Chandler, who re-signed
with the Bulls for six years during the offseason. "I'm sad to see