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Someone Call the Jury Back Into Session on that Eddy Curry Trade

First of all, let's recap what the trade actually was (from Bulls.com):

The Chicago Bulls convey to the New York Knicks the contract of Antonio Davis and the signed-and-traded contract of Eddy Curry. In exchange, New York conveys to Chicago the contracts of Tim Thomas and Michael Sweetney, the signed-and-traded contract of Jermaine Jackson, and New York’s regular second round draft choice in 2007 and 2009.

In addition, New York conveys to Chicago, New York’s 2006 regular first round draft choice on condition that the pick does not actually go to Utah (due to not being number 26-30) and also on condition that New York receives San Antonio’s 2006 regular first round selection (due to being number 11-30).

If New York’s 2006 first round does go to Utah (due to being number 26-30), and New York does receive San Antonio’s 2006 first round pick (due to being number 11-30), New York conveys to Chicago that San Antonio first round selection.

In addition, New York also conveys to Chicago the right to switch first round draft picks with New York in 2007 provided that New York’s first round selection does not go to Utah (is not number 25-30). Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. This trade is conditional upon the players passing their physicals.

Set aside Tim Thomas, Antonio Davis, and Jermaine Jackson--who are all non-factors to either of these teams at this point. Also, because my brain isn't capable of understanding it all without a personal tutorial, let's foolishly set aside any concerns about the money, cap space, and luxury tax implications of the trade. That means the trade was essentially:

  • Eddy Curry and (assuming draft positions based on current standings) this year's 18th pick, for...

  • Tyrus Thomas, Michael Sweetney, and this year's ninth pick.

Looking at things now, would you make that trade? Be honest. If I were the Knicks, hell yes, I'd do that (while crossing my fingers and wishing for some big Chicago losing streaks in the second half of this season).

Tyrus Thomas has a lot of upside, but like the vast majority of young players is no sure thing (and, although it may be totally baseless, he has been mentioned as a possible throw-in in a Pau Gasol deal). Michael Sweetney is Michael Sweetney, by which I mean he's not getting much burn and it's accepted around the league that the Bulls are desperate for a scoring big man.

Isiah Thomas's track record seems to indicate he has a decent shot at drafting a pretty good player in the middle of the first round.

I know Eddy Curry has many flaws--including an inability to jump, defend, block shots, or rebound--but he is profoundly messing with how opponents defend the Knicks. He's a wrecking crew in there. He gets whatever position he wants, and the position he tends to want is right underneath the basket. If he stays healthy for the next decade, he's going to score a ton of points.

And not to be overlooked: Knick perimeter players have all kinds of room to operate these days, because if you don't double Curry he's either going to shoot 65% most of the night, or he's going to foul out all your big guys. If the Jamal Crawfords, Quentin ("aren't I looking heavy these days") Richardsons, and Stephon Marburys can consistently capitalize on that, these Knicks are going to get a lot better--thanks to this Isiah Thomas trade that has been so firmly written off as a disaster for New York.

Howard Beck writes in today's New York Times:

Curry got the first game-winning basket of his N.B.A. career Tuesday night when he slammed Jamal Crawford’s perfect pass through the rim late at Staples Center. The Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 107-106, and Coach Isiah Thomas got his 23rd victory — a number that Larry Brown did not reach until April 19 last year.

It was Thomas who installed Curry as his No. 1 scoring option and instilled in him a newfound confidence. Curry’s resounding dunk with 7.1 seconds left, though not a called play, was payback of sorts.

Over his first five seasons, Curry was rarely put in a position to carry a team or deliver a victory. The closest he came, he said, was a game-tying basket that he once scored for the Chicago Bulls in a game against the Knicks.

“It just feels so good to have a win,” Curry said. “It feels good to have 23 wins right now, especially after what we went through last year. We’re coming together at the right time.”

The Knicks went into Wednesday night’s game at Golden State with a chance to beat last season’s victory mark before heading into the All-Star Game break. A year ago, Curry was still battling his poor conditioning and Brown’s lack of faith in him.

This has been a season of firsts for Curry. He is on pace for career highs in scoring (19.7 points a game) and rebounding (7 a game), and is close to his career high in field-goal percentage at .584.

“He’s playing at such a high level; it’s not like he’s on a hot streak,” said Crawford, Curry’s closest friend on the team. “He’s only getting better and better.”

With a wary eye on what might become of Tyrus Thomas and whatever pick Chicago might end up getting from New York, I'd make that trade. Which means we're going to have to find something else to make fun of Isiah Thomas for instead.