Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

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Curry only here to take up space

New York Knicks' Eddy Curry speaks with the

New York Knicks' Eddy Curry speaks with the media during the Knicks' Media Day at their training facility Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek) (Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

  The Knicks are already on the hook for half of Eddy Curry's $11.3M salary for this season. It was written into his contract that he get the lump sum payment in July, once it was official that he would not opt out of the final year of his contract. 

So one way to look at a potential buyout plan just to remove him from the roster -- and practice -- is that you're working off just that remaining half. But don't expect the Knicks to have any interest in writing Curry yet another lump sum check. No, not when he showed up at training camp looking as if he is definitely on the wrong side of 300 pounds again.

Perhaps that explains why he dragged himself through a conditioning drill at the end of Saturday night's practice and then stepped out of a conditioning drill at the end of Sunday's practice. 

Didn't Eddy tell us at Media Day on Friday that he was ready? I was assured by several players who kept tabs on him this summer that he was putting in work to prepare himself for a big year. A career-preserving year.

[Bloghost note: I know, this is the annual Eddy's Not In Shape story. Write, rinse, repeat ]

Curry apparently had some tightness in his hamstrings, which means for the third straight year he couldn't finish two straight days of training camp. Mike D'Antoni has never made a secret of his disfavor for Curry's fitness allergy, so when he starts making excuses, you know it's pretty much over (so much for my proclamations on Knicks Night Live that Eddy would not only be ready, but he would start this season).

"It's not going to make me raise my eyebrows," Mike D'Antoni said, "because he hasn't played in three years."

What D'Antoni should have said was that it doesn't raise his eyebrows because Curry is persona non grata in this camp, much like Stephon Marbury was in 2008. Only, to Eddy's credit, he is a lot quieter and has no interest in attracting any more attention to himself.

But let's avoid enabling him with back-patting coverage of how he's somehow the victim here because D'Antoni clearly has no use for him as a player -- with high-motor bigs on the roster such as Anthony Randolph and Timofey Mozgov playing above-the-rim, why would you? -- and poor Eddy deserves a chance to play. Doesn't the franchise deserve to get something for their money, especially when half of it is already in his pocket?

But if Eddy really wanted to play, if this season really did matter to him, he would have been here when the calendar flipped to September and make sure the coaching staff knew he was present and accounted for and sweating buckets to prepare for camp and the system. Sound corny and idealistic? Ask Rashad McCants what he would do for a second chance at an NBA training camp. At this point, the Bad Boy Tar Heel would probably mop the floors each morning if it meant getting back in the league.

Instead of showing up early and ensuring he is ready with zero excuses, the person who has the self-starting skills of an Edsel decided to stay away, do it his way and work out on his own terms in a beach resort town along the Jersey Shore. You know, the land of Gym, Tan, Laundry.

But I firmly do believe Curry wants to play, just not here. But unlike LeBron and maybe Carmelo, this is one Leon Rose client who won't be able to make such demands.

Make no mistake, the Knicks absolutely do want him here because he is the one big, expiring contract they have to offer in a potential trade for Carmelo if that option is still there as we get into the season. 

And if that does come to fruition, then at least Curry can leave this franchise knowing his career here wasn't a total bust.

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