If anyone can explain this situation, I’m all ears. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and team president Donnie Walsh have said that they have no plans to trade, waive or play guard Stephon Marbury this season.
Marbury, who is due to earn $21.9 million this season, met with D’Antoni and Walsh on Monday to discuss his situation. According D’Antoni, it’s a non-issue at this point.
“It is resolved,” D’Antoni said after practice on Tuesday. “It is. Pretty soon that story is not going to be fun to read because it is going to be the same old story.
“You are going to be beating a dead horse,” he said.
D’Antoni basically said that he’ll only dress if someone gets hurt.
“It is a lot of money,” the first-year Knicks coach said. “He has a contract, rightly so. If somebody gets hurt, we might need him. Why not? Steph has been great. He is part of the team. We are trying to do what is best for the Knicks.”
I understand that D’Antoni doesn’t like Marbury’s style of play. While immensely talented, Marbury has developed the reputation of someone who would rather drop 30 points and lose, than score 12 and win. So it’s not a real surprise that the new regime doesn’t want him as part of their plans. But, it’s not that he isn’t playing, he isn’t even dressing.
Is it right to embarrass the guy? This is exactly what the Knicks are doing. Especially after asking him to take a reduced role off the bench during the preseason. Marbury accepted that he wasn’t going to start and was willing to come in as a substitute and play maybe 20 minutes a game. That’s how the team was run in the preseason and everything seemed to be going ok.
But then came game 1 of the season. Marbury dressed, but never got called into the game. The next few games, he didn’t even dress.
In their second game the Knicks were getting their heads handed to them against the Sixers. He couldn’t have provided a jump start off the bench? What sense does this make? Why keep this guy on the team at his salary to not ever use him?
“He is a good player,” Walsh said.
Just not good enough to play for a team that is horrific at best.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” said the guy who has averaged almost 20 points and eight assists per game over the course of his career. “All I can do is sit still, be obedient and watch and learn from the situation.”
What really are the options? Trade him?
“There aren’t a lot of options out there,” Walsh said.
Ok, how about buying Marbury out of his contract? Would he go for that?
“I signed the contract, and in the contract it says this is how much money I’m going to make this year, so I wouldn’t ask you to take less money if you signed a contract with me,” Marbury said. “I’m not going to do that.”
There goes that idea. And by cutting Marbury, they would just be paying his full salary for him to sit home and do nothing.
The Knicks have put themselves and Marbury in a very uncomfortable spot. And now it’s just a public debacle that makes everyone look bad.