The Knicksâ Eddy Curry is showing little effort to revive a career thatâs in dire need of a swift kick in the pants.
Knicks officials told the NY Post that Curry was expected to attend the Knicksâ summer league in Las Vegas, but the league wrapped up on Saturday with no sign of him. While the team has given no reason for Curryâs absence, it is thought he may be in Chicago, where his wife recently gave birth.
By staying away, the oft-injured center missed a valuable opportunity to meet with coaches and work out with new teammates including Anthony Randolph, Wilson Chandler and Russian center Timofey Mozgov, who signed with the Knicks last week.
Having played only 10 games in the last two seasons, Curry is likely concentrating on staying in shape heading into the teamâs training camp in September and preseason games in Milan and Paris in October.
"I'd be stupid if not being here would sway it," Knicks coach Mike DâAntoni told the Post "But he's got to be ready when training camp opens. He's got to be ready."
Team president Donnie Walsh echoed DâAntoniâs statement, saying while his presence at summer league wasnât required, "he has to be ready for preseason."
His preseason performance may prove to be crucial, as thereâs speculation that Curry may warm the bench next season.
According to a Russian website, Sport.ru, Mosgovâs agent said that newly acquired Ronny Turiaf will be the starting center for the Knicks next season and that Mosgov, not Curry, would serve as backup.
"Every position is not definitive except for point guard with Raymond [Felton] and power forward with Amar'e [Stoudemire]," D'Antoni said. "A big, talented center in this league on almost any team would be appreciated. There's definitely a spot."
Curry worked out at the Knicks' practice facility throughout May, but he left for Chicago in early June and has since kept in minimal contact with the team, according to the Post.
Curryâs contract is expiring, and without a reliable track record, the Knicks had little ability to trade him this offseason. Had they engineered a trade, the Knicks wouldâve had room to offer almost three maximum contracts. The Knicks could still trade Curry in 2011, but, looking to stay under the salary cap, they would likely not want to in exchange for a long-term contract.
Having basically rebuilt their roster, the Knicks are a young team. Curry, Stoudemire and Turiaf are the oldest on the team, each at age 27. With an average age of 24 years old, no Knicks player is in his 30s.
In DâAntoniâs high-powered offense, itâs essential for New York to have big men that can drive to the rim and set picks. Turiaf and Mozgov have potential, and Stoudemire can certainly deliver. Itâs up to Curry to stake a claim for himself on the court.
While Curryâs future is less than secure, a strong showing in preseason could guarantee playing time and get his lackluster career back on track.
"If you're ready to roll, this is all about winning now," D'Antoni told the Post of Curry's situation. "If he's ready, he'll play. We're an unknown quantity, but our whole focus is to make the playoffs. Any player who contributes will play."