GREENBURGH, N.Y. - This preseason, the Celtics are giving Michael Sweetney a second chance to rebuild his career after two seasons out of the NBA because of weight and conditioning issues. Sound familiar? It's a cautionary tale for Eddy Curry.
The Knicks earlier this week decided to keep Curry off the court until he is in the proper condition to play. This after he spent three months during the offseason supposedly losing 40 pounds and getting in shape after a season in which he played only two games because of a knee injury and conditioning and weight issues.
Sweetney, who hasn't played since spot duty in the Bulls' Game 2 loss to the Pistons in the second round of the 2007 playoffs, had 10 points in his preseason debut for the Celtics Wednesday against the Rockets.
"I just got to get it back," Sweetney, who will turn 27 Oct. 25, told The Boston Globe last week. "I want to prove to people, prove to myself, that I can still play. I'm not washed up. I'm not old. I just want to play basketball again."
The Knicks play at Boston Friday night. While all eyes remain on Kevin Garnett's comeback from a knee injury (he played 13 minutes against the Rockets), Curry might want to fix his gaze on Sweetney, who is the same age as Curry and once was a lottery pick with a promising upside.
Another thing they have in common: listed weights (270 for Sweetney, 295 for Curry) that are far from accurate.
The two also are connected by the trade that sent Curry to the Knicks in October 2005. The Knicks sent Sweetney, the ninth overall pick in 2003, to the Bulls along with Antonio Davis for Curry, Tim Thomas and Jermaine Jackson.
Sweetney told the Globe that his inconsistent playing time with the Knicks - he averaged 11.8 minutes per game as a rookie and 19.6 minutes in 2004-05 - made him lazy.
"Obviously, those two years of me not playing in New York, I never knew I was going to play, so I was, 'OK, do I work out?' " he said. "I didn't.''
Now Sweetney finds himself the 16th player on the Celtics' very loaded 15-man roster. Curry has one more season left on his contract, which means in 2011, he will be a free agent. He still has time to salvage his career, but it's very clear that the clock is ticking.
Notes & quotes: Chris Duhon was excused from yesterday's practice for personal reasons. A team spokesman said he will make the trip to Boston and is expected to play . . . Mike D'Antoni said he plans to change up the starting lineup for tonight's game, with Jared Jeffries getting a look at center, David Lee back at power forward and the possibility that Al Harrington could be used as a sixth man.