NEW YORK -- Free agent Michael Curry is optimistic he'll be playing in the NBA this season and has no plans to step down as president of the players
The 36-year-old forward, who appeared in 70 games for the Toronto Raptors last season, has been taking part in negotiations between the union and the
league on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Players association bylaws state the union president must be an active player, but there is no language defining active.
"It's not an issue," said Curry, who replaced Patrick Ewing as president of the union in 2001. "I'm waiting for the right situation with the right
team, and I'll let it take its course."
Curry, who has played for six NBA teams over a 10-year career in which he never averaged more than 6.6 points, said he turned down offers over the
summer from teams offering only a partially guaranteed salary. He would not identify them, nor would he state a preference for where he would like to
"I'm going to sign eventually, but I'm not eager to go to a bad team," Curry said Wednesday in a telephone interview from his home in Atlanta. "I'm a
36-year-old role player. It's not like that's a hot commodity."
During the preseason, union vice president Shaquille O'Neal, who replaced Alonzo Mourning on the union's executive council, said he supported Curry
remaining in the post of union president despite not having a contract for the upcoming season.
There is precedent for members of the union's executive committee remaining in their posts past the end of their playing careers, including Greg
Anthony serving as first vice president two seasons ago, but there is no such precedent for a union president.
"Guys are happy and content with the service he's provided," union director Billy Hunter said.
Curry, who has one year remaining on his four-year term, was a member of the players' negotiating committee that agreed to a seven-year collective
bargaining agreement with NBA owners in 1999, ending a lockout that forced the cancellation of the three months of the 1998-99 season.
The league's labor agreement expires at the end of the current season, and the sides have made little progress on a new agreement during recent
Among the changes owners are seeking is a reduction, from seven years to four, in the maximum length of all player contracts. The union is seeking the
elimination of the luxury and escrow taxes that take effect if the percentage of league revenues devoted to player salaries exceeds certain levels.