NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: Eddie Curry #34 of the New York Knicks shoots the ball as he falls to the ground against the Houston Rockets on January 9, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
There's a segment of the population that likes to rail against the amount of money that professional athletes are paid and use it as ammunition for expressing their disgust for poor performances, their preference for the good old days, or whatever other itch they feel needs scratching.
To each their own, but it seems like a pretty petty judgment to make. Who among us wouldn't accept millions of dollars for doing our jobs if someone offered, especially if a lot of other people are getting rich on the back of our labor?
So, as a rule, we don't begrudge athletes the chance to earn their money. As they say, though, every rule has its exception. In the case of this rule, the exception is Eddy Curry.
If Curry merely spent his Knicks career playing terrible basketball in between his frequent injuries, he'd be a disappointment but would merely be checked off as another Isiah Thomas failure. He'd be Jerome James, in other words, and a guy who was disliked for the era of mismanagement he exemplified instead of any personal animus. Curry won't play that game, though. He spoke to the New York Post over the weekend about his future, specifically about his desire that the team waive him if they don't plan on playing him next season.
"I'm not taking a buyout, so that's not happening. Definitely not. They can try to trade me if they wanted to. I hope it doesn't come to that. But I would just hope that if it came down to it, especially going into a contract year, that if [coach Mike D'Antoni] knows this wasn't the right place for me, they would make the right decision. Other than that, I'll do everything I can to be ready."
If you admire anything about Curry, it would have to be the chutzpah, especially about this being a contract year, his little rant displays. If you didn't know any better, you'd think that the Knicks were doing him a disservice by paying him $11.2 million to do whatever it is he does instead of playing professional basketball.
Believe it or not, the Knicks wanted Curry to actually play a role on the basketball court over these last five years. Curry's own physical inability is the reason he only played 10 times in the last two years, something he conveniently leaves out of his plans for a boffo contract year.
While there certainly won't be anyone looking to pick him up to play the sport, Curry's contract could be appealing to a team looking to dump their own player or players while creating cap room for the 2011-2012 season. With David Stern's announcement that the NBA will have a higher than expected cap next season, the Knicks can add two max players and then deal Curry's pact for supporting pieces who have deals that run for more than one season and/or players participating in sign-and-trades with their old teams.
Curry doesn't want to take a buyout? Fair enough, a contract is a contract. That works two ways. If the Knicks feel it is in their best interest to trade him, waive him or let him rot at the end of the bench, Curry should just grin and bear it.