Bulls deal Curry after DNA test refusal
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.
ESPN Insider John Hollinger breaks down the Eddy Curry trade:
Bulls: Chicago was forced to trade its most effective offensive player last season, Eddy Curry, after a dispute over a DNA test for his heart ailment threatened to keep him out all season.
Replacing his production won't be easy, especially on a team as short of scoring power as Chicago. The Bulls got 22.3 points per 40 minutes from Curry, who also shot 53.8 percent from the floor, and will have to replace that with newly acquired Michael Sweetney and Tim Thomas.
But don't weep for the Bulls just yet.
Sweetney will start at power forward while Tyson Chandler to move to his natural center position, and he could replace much of Curry's missing post production. Sweetney shot even better than Curry at 53.1 percent, and while his 17.1 points per 40 minutes doesn't touch Curry's, he's a vastly superior rebounder (11.0 to 7.5 per 40).
Thomas should also figure into the mix and could help with his deep shooting, especially early in the year while Luol Deng is still recovering from last season's wrist injury.
Knicks: New York has been desperately searching for a warm body to man the middle ever since it traded Patrick Ewing.
After drafting Arizona big man Channing Frye and signing former Sonic Jerome James, Knicks president Isiah Thomas remained desperate enough to grossly overpay Chicago's Eddy Curry to be the team's new center.
While Curry is undoubtedly talented, his heart problems are enough of a risk that insurers run screaming in the other direction, and his sloppy conditioning and work habits should make him and James fast friends. Or fast-food friends, anyway.
For all the millions New York is paying its big men, the Knicks better hope that at least one can fill the position competently.
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 well-being."
Curry's agent Leon Rose did not return calls seeking comment Monday.
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 him go."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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