Eddy Curry’s Resurrection in Dallas?
To put it lightly, the first 10 years of Eddy Curry’s NBA career have not gone smoothly since the big man was taken with the fourth overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2001 NBA Draft. Two years ago, he found himself out of shape and out of the league, a drastic fall from grace after averaging double figures for six straight seasons with the Bulls and New York Knicks. The veteran spent the 2010 season on the proverbial scrap heap, but was determined to revitalize his career and image.
On the court, Curry played in just 10 games for the Knicks between 2008 and 2011 before catching on with the Miami HEAT this past season. Curry played in the final 14 regular season contests (including one start) for the eventual champion HEAT, but was left off of the playoff roster.
Now, Curry was waived after five productive preseason games with the San Antonio Spurs, but was claimed by the Dallas Mavericks and started the team’s final preseason game just last night. The 29-year-old center is hoping to catch on with an NBA team once again.
“I’m still in Texas, so that’s cool,” Curry told HOOPSWORLD. “It’s a great organization and I’m extremely appreciative for this opportunity that Coach [Rick] Carlisle gave me, that Mark Cuban gave me, Donnie [Nelson] and everybody from top to bottom. It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m just extremely appreciative.”
Playing with the Spurs, which included one start this fall, Curry averaged decent numbers: 8.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. As a starter, against the Atlanta Hawks, Curry finished with 11 points and eight boards in 25 minutes of action.
Friday night, against the Charlotte Bobcats, Curry netted similar numbers with 11 points, seven rebounds and a hefty three blocks. Granted, this is the preseason and last night’s game was against the Bobcats, but for an injured Mavericks team, Curry might have played his way into a roster spot.
“I think so,” Curry said as to if he can stick around with the frontcourt-depleted Mavericks. “I think time will tell, but I’m going to do everything I can possible and the ultimate decision will be theirs.”
Perennial All-Star Dirk Nowitzki is expected to be out three to six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee and center Chris Kaman calf could miss the first game of the season with a calf injury. Backup Brandan Wright is recovering from an ankle injury as well so the Mavericks have only Elton Brand and rookie Bernard James as viable frontcourt options locked in when they start the season Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Unless Carlisle is planning a Don Nelson-style reversion to small ball in Dallas, there is a definite need for a seven-footer like Curry on the Mavericks’ roster to start the season.
“It’s anywhere between three and six [weeks] so we’re hoping for the best and bracing for the worst,” Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson told HOOPSWORLD of Nowitzki’s timetable.”Hence bringing in Eddy Curry. He had a chance to practice with the boys this morning and he [got] some significant time tonight. You never know, we might just throw him in the mix this week.”
“We’ve always liked Eddy,” Nelson continued. “He’s got soft hands and he’s got a nice low-post game. He’s gone on some hard times at the age of 29 and, with a family, people grow up. He’s put in a lot of work this summer and put himself in a great position. I think it was a numbers thing down in San Antonio, but we’re going to take a good hard look at him.”
With a little over two months away from his 30th birthday and a family rooting for him to succeed, Curry looks like he’s humbled and ready to start over and turn over a new leaf in the NBA. Just taking a look at the much slimmer Curry this October, it’s apparent that he’s put in the time and effort to get his weight and diet under control.
“Yeah definitely, my kids are getting older, we have real conversations now,” Curry said. “They have their favorite players and I’d like to be one of their favorite players – not just because I’m their dad. So that’s definitely added more motivation for me, in the summertime working out and everything. Just staying in the gym and watching my diet and all of that.”
Through all of the hardships and struggles, Curry says his family has always been there to help keep him from letting that frustration boil over.
“Really, I get frustrated but as soon as I leave the arena and I get around my family – my kids, my wife and everybody – it goes away honestly,” Curry said. “At the end of the day, that’s what’s important and this is work. I come to work, I punch in the clock, I do what I have to do and I go home and live my life.”
“This is what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Curry explained. “I just kept working and I knew an opportunity would come. I just had to be ready.”
Even though there is certainly a need at the position in Dallas, a roster spot is not guaranteed with the Mavericks. Dallas has already brought in Chris Douglas-Roberts and Melvin Ely to deal with the possible exodus of Delonte West. Carlisle was impressed with Curry’s offensive production, but admitted that some work still needs to be done on the defensive end.
“I thought he did OK,” Carlisle said. “He’s a really good offensive player around the basket. Defensively, there are some things we have to work with him on. In the pick-and-roll defense, he tends to stay back and zone up and our coverage is more aggressive. It’s a mindset; just something he’s got to get use to, but he did some good things.”
In order for Curry to stick in Dallas, the Mavericks would have to complete a buyout or waive West, then make the decision that Curry is the right player to keep moving forward. Like Curry told HOOPSWORLD, the ultimate decision will be with the Mavericks as to whether or not the 10-year vet gets a shot at redemption in Dallas.