This thing got ugly quick. I don't think we're yet past the point of no return... Jack's a sane and intelligent guy, and it's not impossible that he'll shape up come Opening Day and things will quiet down a little. But the odds of that aren't looking very good. Jack has created a nasty feedback loop, where trading him becomes both more necessary and more difficult. There's no way we're getting any expiring '10 contracts for him... there's no way we're getting anything of real value here. The guy's looking pretty radioactive right now, and the only way we'd be able to move him would be if we took a horrible contract back. I'm talking HORRIBLE.
We're Warriors fans... we're used to staring horrible in the face. So let's look at the worst case scenario. Let's assume it comes down to the grossest contract in the league. Let's talk about Stephen Jackson for Eddy Curry. (We'd have to throw in one of our expirings to make the trade work... I threw in Speedy, but Law would work too.) If there were no other possibilities, if it came down to trading for Curry or nothing, should we do it?
The argument against is pretty simple. Eddy Curry is a horrible player on a horrible contract, a malcontent, a fat and lazy bum, a blight on the earth. Wherever he goes, locusts and vultures and spiders follow soon after. The very idea of him is almost depressing beyond belief. The sheer negative power of the karmic combination of Eddy Curry and this franchise could create streams-crossing levels of risk to the universe as a whole. It's not hard to argue against this trade.
I'm going to argue *for* this trade. My argument has five pillars:
1) This is a trade we could make tomorrow. The Knicks would love to get out of the Eddy Curry business. They're about the only bad team that can feel somewhat confident that Jack will play hard for them. They could use another decent player to try to attract free agents. Above all, they could use as much '10 cap space as they can find, to try to attract free agents... this would give them $2.8 million more of it. There's an argument that we should wait till the deadline to find a more attractive deal, but that deal may never come... come February, there will be many more appealing guys available than Jack. Pressing the dreaded Eddy Curry button now would end this headache.
2) We actually could use a power forward, and we're not likely to get any decent ones in return for Jack. On the rare occasions when Eddy Curry plays, he plays a position of need for us... he plays that position badly, but he's probably not much worse than Mikki Moore. I'd rather see Curry out there than Moore, for entertainment value, if nothing else.
3) An unhappy Eddy Curry would be much less of a distraction to this franchise than an unhappy Stephen Jackson. An unhappy Jack brings a lot of baggage: "We Believe" memories, captaincies, friendships with other Warriors. There'd be no baggage with Eddy Curry. He's just some goof we'd be adding for non-basketball reasons. No history, no fuss, no problem. If he's feeling down, he doesn't even need to show up. What do we care? He sucks, after all.
4) Curry's contract expires in 2011 (assuming he exercises his player option next summer, which he absolutely will). An $11.3 million-dollar expiring contract always has value as a trade chip, no matter what the economy's doing. There are always going to be some teams that need to shed payroll for one reason or another... come February of 2011, those teams are going to be mighty interested in Eddy Curry all of a sudden.
5) Even more intriguing than the prospect of trading his contract, though, is the prospect of simply letting it expire. This trade would leave us with Monta, Beans, Maggette, Turiaf (assuming he exercises his player option), Randolph and Curry under contract for a total of about $40.7 million dollars, with 'Buike, Morrow and Wright as our relevant free agents... depending on the cap level, we could have $12-15 million to play with before we re-sign any of those guys. This would be a pretty interesting situation.
2011 will be a much weaker free agent market than 2010, of course, but it'll feature a smaller number of bidders, as well. There definitely won't be that many *attractive* bidders -- most of the destination teams will have already shot their wad this summer. 2011 is a year where we might actually win the bidding for somebody. And who might that somebody be?
Andrei Kirilenko will be 30 to start the '11-'12 season. That's not young, and he's not necessarily the type who'll age gracefully... there'd be some risk to signing him. But you can't tell me that a Curry/Monta/Maggette/Kirilenko/Randolph/Biedrins/Turiaf core doesn't sound at least a little interesting. Would a $26 million two-year deal be enough to nab a thirty-year-old Kirilenko? I think it's at least possible.
So, yeah, I'd do it. If it came to it, I'd trade Stephen Jackson for Eddy Curry. Would you? Would you pay... the Ultimate Price?