Bulls deal Curry to Knicks after DNA test refusal

Updated: October 4, 2005, 9:21 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The New York Knicks are ready to take a chance on Eddy Curry. And while they want doctors to sign off on the health of the 22-year-old center's heart first, they won't be looking at Curry's DNA profile.

Analyzing the Curry trade
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.

See also:

Hollinger's complete analysis

Hollinger's team overviews:
Chicago Bulls | New York Knicks

The NBA approved a trade Tuesday that sends Curry and veteran center Antonio Davis from Chicago to the Knicks for forwards Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney and Jermaine Jackson.

The trade, like all others, requires that all players pass a physical. In Curry's case, it will involve tests by a team of doctors to determine whether an irregular heartbeat that forced him to miss the last 13 games of last season and the playoffs was an isolated incident or an indication of a more serious problem.

"Believe me, if there is something there, the people we have examining him -- they will find it," team president Isiah Thomas said after the Knicks practiced Tuesday night at the College of Charleston.

The Bulls had demanded Curry take a DNA test to see if he is susceptible to cardiomyopathy, the ailment that killed former Boston Celtics guard Reggie Lewis and Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers.

But Curry refused, saying the test violated his privacy because it could also be used to determine if he was predisposed to a host of other conditions going into his fifth NBA season.

Thomas said the Knicks couldn't give Curry a DNA test because of New York's privacy and employment laws. Doctors will continue to perform other tests Wednesday, and Thomas hopes to know by the afternoon whether he is clear to play.

As part of the trade, the Knicks also will give the Bulls a conditional first-round draft pick in 2006, two second-round selections in the next four years and the option of exchanging first-round picks with New York at a later draft.

Thomas said it was worth it to get a player that only comes along every decade or so. Coach Larry Brown told Thomas that Curry was still raw, but had potential to become a dominant post player and give the Knicks one of the deepest front lines in the Eastern Conference.

"I think his best basketball is in front of him," said Brown, in his first season with the Knicks.

Curry was drafted out of Thornwood High School in South Holland, Ill. But he came into the league overweight and struggled his first three seasons.

Last year, the 6-foot-11 center lost 40 pounds and broke through to lead the Bulls with 16.1 points a game. He 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.

Bulls general manager John Paxson wanted to keep Curry, offering him a $5 million, one-year deal if he passed the DNA test. And if he failed, Paxson said Chicago would offer Curry $400,000 annually for the next 50 years. But with the DNA test as a sticking point, the Bulls decided to shop Curry around.

Curry and Davis could join the team for practice Wednesday night if they both pass their physicals, Thomas said.

Thomas acknowledged even if the doctors clear Curry, there is no guarantee he doesn't have a heart condition. But Thomas said he wasn't going to worry that something might happen to Curry if he keeps playing.

"If we think this guy is healthy, you make the trade," Thomas said. "If he passes the physical, we've done something good."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press