Larry Coon of NBA Salary Cap FAQ is an excellent asset for any pro basketball fan. His hustle is taking the heavyweight math and finance of the league and slicing it up into bite-size pieces for common folks like you and me. If you ask me, Gilbert Arenas isn't the NBA's hibachi. It's Larry Coon.
LC's been all over the Eddy Curry situation as the New York Times' relatively new Off The Dribble blog, and he had this to say about Curry's recent borderline trade demands:
But if Curry really wants out, and is willing to sacrifice, a buyout can give Walsh exactly what he wants — more cap room in 2010. It is the only way (other than a trade) to have Curry completely off the books when the free agents hit the market next summer.
The key is Curry’s player option. Curry’s contract technically ends after this season, but he has the option to extend it for one more season at $11.3 million. Since he is unlikely to command anything approaching that amount as a free agent, it is considered a no-brainer that when the time comes, he will pick up the option and guarantee himself the salary. And once he does, the salary is stuck on the Knicks’ books, reducing Walsh’s spending power by that same $11.3 million.
If Curry is willing to give up his option for next season, Walsh would likely give him a buyout in a heartbeat, rushing to get it done before Curry has a chance to change his mind.
Basically, assuming that Curry doesn't have much future in the D'Antoni system (which could be a hasty, inaccurate assumption, mind you), he's got a choice between collecting massive paychecks from the bench or seeking playing time elsewhere. Eddy is 27 years old and in relatively good shape, so he might very well find a suitable fit elsewhere if he comes at a reasonable price. Nobody but Isiah's Knicks would guarantee him $11.3 million, though, and if he'd rather fill his wallet than shed his warm-ups, expect Curry to suck it up and stick around for another year. That's not to pass judgment on Eddy for picking up his player option. Financially, it's an easy choice. If Curry's really hankering for minutes, though, he's got options. Literally.