Apparently, Pat Riley isn’t done retooling this Miami Heat roster. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Riley watched Eddy Curry work out in Chicago recently and plans to bring him down to Miami with the ultimate objective of signing the 7-footer for the playoffs. Wojnarowski said that the Heat could waive rookie center Dexter Pittman in order to sign Curry.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Riley confirmed that he saw Curry work out. The South Florida newspaper also said that Curry was just one of "half a dozen" players Riley has looked into recently, though.
If you haven’t heard of Curry for the past few years, it’s for a good reason. The Chicago native has played a total of 10 games since the 2008-09 season, never getting off the bench this year for the New York Knicks before becoming a part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. The Knicks desperately need a presence in the middle, so the fact that Curry couldn’t even crack the rotation in New York speaks volumes.
Curry dealt with weight issues for the past three years, and came back to Chicago to work with noted trainer Tim Grover to get back in shape to play in time for the playoffs. NBA executives said that burly center weighed around 375 pounds when he came to Chicago, and Wojnarowski reported that he still weighs more than 350 pounds.
The issue of signing Curry is a no-brainer to me: don’t sign him. First of all, Curry hasn’t played in an NBA game all year long, and now some expect him to contribute in the playoffs for a championship-contending team? Players do not magically get in shape, even if they do work with Grover, who helped Dwyane Wade recover from injury issues to have a great 2008-09 campaign.
Even at an ideal level, Curry does not fit with this team. When he played with the Chicago Bulls or the Knicks, Curry could always score in the post. But rebounding? His career-high average is seven boards per game. Blocking shots? Curry has only blocked an average of at least one shot during one season in his nine-year professional career. A 7-footer who can rebound, block shots and score in the post a couple times throughout the course of a game would be the ideal center for this team, not Curry.
Besides, the NBA has largely moved away from the center position. I don’t see the Orlando Magic beating the Chicago Bulls in the second round, so Dwight Howard should not threat Miami. At the five, the Bulls start Joakim Noah, who is really a four. The Boston Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and hope for Shaquille O’Neal (the oldest player in the league) to offer quality minutes in the middle. Even Jermaine O’Neal is more of a power forward than a center.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the only team that threatens the Heat’s championship aspirations and offers a real center in Andrew Bynum. And at 350 pounds, what can Curry do against Bynum that Erick Dampier or Jamaal Magloire can’t do?
It doesn’t make any sense to sign an out-of-shape center at the expense of a young, developing prospect in Pittman, who has a three-year contract with the Heat. I’m way more interested to see the other players Riley looked at than even entertain the notion of Curry signing with Miami.