One NBA player being robbed at gunpoint is frightening.
Two NBA players being robbed at gunpoint within weeks of one another, in the same city, sure feels like something even worse.
In an incident eerily similar to what happened to Antoine Walker three weeks ago, the Knicks' Eddy Curry was robbed today at his Chicago area home;
"Deputy chief of police John Madden said three offenders restrained Curry, his family and an employee with duct tape inside the Burr Ridge home."
While the primary concern in both Walker and Curry's situations rests with their safety and well being, the timing and location of the two robberies should also concern someone else;
The Chicago Bulls and GM John Paxson.
Whether it is fair or not, these two robberies are going to give the perception around the NBA that players in Chicago are being targeted. Only time will tell whether or not the two robberies are linked in some way, but at present the robberies are going to make Chicago seem like a much less attractive destination for NBA players than it was at the beggining of July.
The timing is especially troubling given the fact that the Bulls were obviously aiming to make a big push next Summer in free agency. The Bulls were set to enter the 2008 offseason with more cap space than almost any NBA team. The 2008 free agent class should feature far more star power than this year, with the likes of Kevin Garnett, Baron Davis, Antawn Jamison, Shawn Marion, and Jermaine O'Neal likely being available. Now that Chicago seems a little less safe for NBA players than it did just a month ago, how will that change the thinking of a player like Garnett or O'Neal if they are offered similar money by both the Bulls and another team?
What Chicago may end up doing, and what they may have done regardless of the two robberies, is focus on signing their young core to lucrative extensions. It is almost certain that the Bulls will sign Luol Deng long term, but if the Bulls are unable to sign any big ticket free agents next Summer they would be much more likely to re-sign the likes of Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon. Only time will tell if the two recent robberies will force Chicago's hand in choosing whether to maintain their core or to go the free agent route.