Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Eddy requesting trade?

From today's Trib:

Eddy Curry's agent has asked the Bulls to consider a sign-and-trade for the restricted free agent, a source familiar with the negotiations confirmed Tuesday.

Curry's agent, Leon Rose, did not respond to a message, and Bulls general manager John Paxson declined to confirm or deny the request. But Paxson acknowledged the parties are nowhere near reaching an agreement

I'm not even sure it's newsworthy anymore when Eddy Curry demands a trade, it seems to happen so often.

No other papers had as inflammatory of a headline ("Curry seeking sign-and-trade"), although they all considered it an option in the negotiations. I think that is probably what is closer to the truth. I see no problem with Eddy or his agent exploring options with other teams if they feel Paxson is non-committal to a substantial long-term deal (and that looks to be the case from Pax's side).

As far as the likelihood of a sign/trade with Curry, I just don't see it. The Bulls went through an incredibly long staredown with the Knicks last summer with Jamal Crawford, and with Curry's heart condition that process could even take longer this time around. And last summer the Bulls had something to gain from dealing Crawford, which was financial relief. With the Bulls owing no big contracts beyond this season (except for the recently re-signed Chandler) that motivation for working out a deal is gone. There's always the chance the Bulls could get comparable talent for Curry, but I don't see how a team would be willing to trade their young big(what the Bulls would be seeking to replace Eddy) for similar one with a potential career-threatening injury.

Another question with Curry is his conditioning, as there are rumors that he has been taking it easy this summer as to not jeapordize his market value. But Pax points out that Eddy technically isn't a free agent just yet:

"I don't think it will be a problem, it's not like they[Curry and Chandler] didn't have a contract. The qualifying offer is a contract. They all went through training camp with (coach) Scott (Skiles) last year. They realize there is a conditioning test they have to go through."

At the very least Eddy will make $5m+ for this season and it can serve as a test for both more consistent play and his health. If he plays well, all these problems will take care of themselves, the Bulls will still possess his Bird rights and will be able to give him the payday the other Baby Bull just received.

UPDATE (10:55pm): Go to the Score's website for John Paxson's interview with my guys Boers and Bernstein. Very interesting stuff regarding his approach to the Eddy Curry negotions.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Austin's odyssey continues

After waiting in vain for an offer from an NBA team, Mario Austin has reportedly signed with Hapoel Jerusalem of Israel's Premier League. Austin, the Bulls 2003 second round pick out of Mississippi State, averaged 7.6 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Bulls in the Vegas Summer League. With the recent signings of Malik Allen and Othella Harrington (and potentially Darius Songaila), there was little chance the well-travelled forward would make Chicago's opening-day roster.

After his kidnapping/contract dispute with CSKA Moscow a few years ago, Austin went on to play for the Jackson Rage of the World Basketball Association (billed as - I kid you not - "the next best thing to the NBA"), where he averaged 22.9 points and 10.3 rebounds in 2004 to win the league's MVP award, and then onto Laurentana Biella of the Italian League last season. Austin will team with another former Bulls pick, Roger Mason Jr., who signed with Hapoel earlier this summer.