Curry passes physical, trade goes through
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Eddy Curry was glad to be a basketball player again and not a patient.
Curry officially joined the New York Knicks on Friday after a team of doctors hired by the club cleared him to play. An NBA cardiologist also reviewed the test results and signed off on Curry's return to practice.
"I'm more worried about breaking a finger," Curry said. "I'm not worried about my heart."
Curry was traded to the Knicks by the Chicago Bulls earlier this week, more than six months after the 22-year-old center had an irregular heartbeat that caused him to miss the final 13 games of last season and the playoffs.
Bulls general manager John Paxson asked Curry to take a DNA test, something the player refused, he said, because it would not be completely accurate.
New York didn't demand Curry take a DNA test as Chicago had. The Bulls wanted the genetic screening to determine whether Curry is susceptible to a potentially fatal heart problem, a request Curry balked at, saying it violated his privacy.
Curry said he would have taken a DNA test for his own peace of mind. But "I wouldn't do it for them," he said.
The 6-foot-11 center, who spent his first four NBA seasons with the Bulls, took the court Friday evening and practiced with his new team at the College of Charleston.
"Go Eddy," Knicks coach Larry Brown shouted as Curry drove the lane in a four-on-four drill and tipped in a missed shot.
Curry went through several five-man full-court drills, looking a little out of shape.
"Right now, I'm extremely happy," he said.
Along with Curry, Chicago sent veteran center Antonio Davis to New York for forwards Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney and Jermaine Jackson along with a conditional first-round draft pick in 2006, two future second-round selections and the option of exchanging picks with New York at a later draft.
Dr. Lisa Callahan, New York's director of player care, said federal patient privacy rules prevented the team from disclosing specifics about Curry's results.
When asked directly if there was something wrong with his heart, Curry answered, "No."
Knicks president Isiah Thomas said research the team had done on Curry's situation showed he was worth the risk. More than a half dozen doctors worked on Curry. Thomas said the medical tests proved Curry's good health.
"It really didn't come down to soul searching because you're dealing with a healthy player," Thomas said.
"I'm thrilled [Curry] is with us," said Brown, the Hall of Fame coach who is starting his first season in New York. "He's not in the kind of shape he's going to be in, but I know how hard he works."
After three sluggish years, Curry, who came to the NBA directly from high school, had broken through to lead the Bulls in scoring last season with a 16.1 average. He played a major role as Chicago 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.
Curry, who went to Thornwood H.S. in South Holland, Ill., said it was difficult at first to learn the team he grew up rooting for wanted him gone.
"But it was a breath of fresh air to know the Knicks wanted me," Curry said.
"It's over with now," he said. "I'm just glad this part of my life is behind me."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press