Knicks aim to monitor Eddy Curry's offseason progress
by alan hahn, Newsday
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Eddy Curry has been ordered by the Knicks to report to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas so that team president Donnie Walsh and his staff can monitor the progress of Curry's offseason diet and conditioning program, according to Jerry Powell, one of Curry's offseason trainers.
Curry will not play for the 'Knicks' summer league team but is expected to be on the court for the second workout of a two-a-day session Sunday at Valley High in Las Vegas, where the Knicks will work out before their summer league opener Tuesday at UNLV.
Powell says Curry, who began a strict diet and fitness regimen set up by California-based strength coach Tommy Weatherspoon in May and began workouts with Powell in June, has lost almost 50 pounds."They want to see what he looks like," Powell told Newsday. "They want to see him get up and down with the summer league team and practice."
There is good reason. The 6-11 Curry, who three years ago displayed all-star potential, ballooned to well more than 300 pounds this past season, when weight and conditioning issues caused him to miss 80 of the 82-game schedule.
Powell said it was clear to him that Curry's "confidence has been damaged," but noted a serious lack of responsibility as the cause of his downfall.
"He's going to be better because he's putting the work in . . . There were summers he did nothing," said Powell, who is from Lindenhurst, Long Island and has built a career out of basketball training, with NBA players such as Knicks forward Al Harrington, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith and Grizzlies guard Marko Jaric, among other college and high school players, on his client list.
And it showed, especially last season, when Curry _ despite the knowledge that new coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system demanded a high level of fitness _ arrived for training camp in poor condition. Then he contracted a bacterial infection and missed the first two weeks of training camp. A myriad of off-court issues also deeply affected him personally.
With two years left on his contract, the 26-year-old Curry's career is unquestionably at a crossroads.
What the Knicks apparently are trying to determine is if he figures in their plans going forward, or if, with a hefty $11.2-million salary against the 2010-11 payroll, they should try to trade him and clear more space for their anticipated foray into free agency next summer. The problem faced by the Knicks _ who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday _ is the amount Curry's value has depreciated. One NBA executive said if Curry was "in shape and on the floor demonstrating it" his trade value, with two years and $21.7 million left on his contract, would still be "limited."
And that's why the Knicks worked with Curry's current agent, Leon Rose, and ubiquitous basketball attache William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, to oversee a focused offseason program this summer. They set up shop at Oakland University, near Wesley's home in West Broomfield, Mich.
Weatherspoon arranged all of Curry's meals and conditioning regimen. And when his weight was down to a manageable number and his knee issues, which have limited him to a total of 62 games during the last two seasons, had finally subsided, Powell began to work with Curry, scheduling two workouts per day from June 11 until July 3.
Powell yesterday flew to Chicago to meet with Curry for some fine-tuning before Curry headed to Vegas for what will be his midsummer checkup. After Curry returns from Vegas, he and Powell will reunite in Ocean City, N.J., to continue their workouts until camp opens in Saratoga in late September.
Bob Herzog contributed to this report.