Although Stephon Marbury says he's not ready to announce his retirement, the for Knicks guard said yesterday he has "shut everything down," taking the season off to work on his businesses and claims he will return to the NBA next season.
Marbury also could not keep himself from ripping his hometown team and coach Mike D'Antoni for their poor preseason play, calling them "a mess."
Marbury went unsigned as a free agent this summer after turning down Boston's veteran minimum offer ($1.3 million) in July. Marbury said he plans to attend the Knicks' home opener Oct. 31 vs. the Sixers with his kids.
Nevertheless, Marbury said he is surprised others want to watch the Knicks.
"I'm just talking as a fan and New Yorker who grew up loving the Knicks: why would I give you my money to watch them?" Marbury told The Post. "This is atrocious. Guys coming down court, just raising up 3-pointers from anywhere. The coaching is horrible. What kind of coaching is this?
"If they shoot like that in the game, imagine how they shoot in practice. New Yorkers deserve better decisions form the front office and New York City has to deal with this mess."
Marbury doesn't see this squad enticing Cavs superstar LeBron James when he becomes a free agent after this season.
"LeBron isn't coming to a rebuilding team," Marbury said. "Why would he come to a rebuilding team? It makes no sense. Is this franchise built to win a championship or to make money?"
The Knicks, who play host to the Nets tonight, have shot 12 of 72 from 3-point range their last two losses.
"People said I was shooting the ball all the time," Marbury said. "What does Nate Robinson do?"
Marbury shot 50 percent during Knicks training camp last season before D'Antoni banished him. After a February buyout, he signed with Boston.
Marbury vows he will play again.
"I'm resting, doing what Michael Jordan did, enjoy life, do things I haven't done in 16 years, keep building my empire," Marbury said. "I wasn't going to Boston for that money. It was a prudent business decision to take off this year."
He didn't have many options. Some believe he rattled the NBA establishment for hosting a 24-hour Ustream show in July during which he swallowed Vaseline because he lost his voice.
"It wasn't a trick, it's a black heritage thing and I did it to help me when I lost my voice," Marbury said. "People saw I was drinking a lot of tea. They said I was crazy. But if I'm hurt, why wouldn't I do something that helps me?"
Marbury has stopped training to work on deals with his Starbury company, which sells apparel online. Marbury said he's getting mom-and-pop stores in Brooklyn and Detroit to sell merchandise.
Marbury played 24 games for the Celtics and 14 playoff contests. Another year away from basketball surely hurts his market value.
"People can say what they want and act like God," Marbury said. "A year from now, you don't know what I'm going to be like. I got to 197 pounds last camp. I'm from the gutter. I can go anywhere."
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