With NBA teams shut down for All-Star Weekend, it will be up to Eddy Curry to voluntarily show up at the MSG Training Center during the break and continue his progress toward getting back on the court.
Curry said he was "shooting for right after the All-Star break to be able to come back and start practicing with the team," which had Knicks brass curious to see if "might" stay back in New York becomes "will." By rule, the team cannot require him to come in for workouts and treatment, but a player can use the team's facilities all weekend if he so chooses.
Early in the season, when Mike D'Antoni openly criticized his conditioning and buried the 6-11, 300-plus- pound center on the bench, there clearly wasn't as much motivation for Curry to put in extra effort to get his fitness level up and his weight down.
But after dealing with a pair of very troubling off-the-court issues in the time since his only appearance of the season -- 2:38 on Jan. 8 in Dallas -- Curry says he wants to get back on the court, get the focus back on basketball and salvage what he can of a lost season. Only 30 regular-season games remain.
"I just want to be able to get back, just have something to build on," he said, "because right now this is definitely not the kind of season I was looking forward to having."
There is little doubt the Knicks wouldn't mind dumping Curry's contract to save even more money ($11.2 million) on the payroll for 2010-11. But with the trade deadline on Thursday, it is highly unlikely that the Knicks -- who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday -- will be able to move Curry before the end of this season.
Notes & quotes: Nate Robinson might be growing tired of being a novelty act. The guard, who will compete in his third dunk contest Saturday night in Phoenix, said he will return for a fourth only if the NBA includes him in other events, such as the skills competition and three-point contest. "All three," he said, "so I can get a chance to win all three." . . . Knicks icon Bernard King made a list of 16 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday. The Hall's Class of 2009 will be named at the Final Four in Detroit on April 4.