KNICKS EVALUATING MARBURY'S FUTURE
By MARC BERMAN
ON GUARD: The status of Stephon Marbury with the Knicks is under evaluation, as new arrival Chris Duhon is applying pressure for the starting position.Posted: 4:08 am
July 12, 2008
LAS VEGAS - Stephon Marbury bounded off the New York Knicks ' team bus at Vegas' Valley High last night - a new tattoo inscribed on his left temple. The "3" logo found on his Starbury sneaker and apparel line is now a permanent part of his bald head.
Good thing the permanent tattoo ink wasn't used on his Knick jersey.
Even the ****y Marbury knows he may be giving up his Knick jersey in a couple of months, with team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni contemplating waiving him before the season opener.
"Right now I've been told I'm going to be playing basketball here," said Marbury, who joined the Knicks' summer-league team for last night's first practice.
However, Marbury, 31, acknowledged nothing's certain.
"I love New York, I want to play in New York," Marbury said. "But I understand the direction they would be going in if that was to happen.
"I'm supposedly old. But there are 29 other teams. I love New York. I want to finish my career here. I feel I have a lot more to give. But I guess I have to prove that because I haven't been on the court much. You guys are saying I can't play anymore. It's kind of fun. It's a challenge."
Marbury, who played just 24 games last season because of season-ending ankle surgery, has trained vigorously since May, running the Hollywood Hills, a mountain called Runyon Canyon.
"When November comes, that's when everyone will see what I've been doing," Marbury said.
If waived, Marbury has told confidants the Celtics are on his radar because of his ties with Kevin Garnett and Boston's need of point-guard depth, though Paul Pierce didn't sound like a fan.
D'Antoni will take the veterans who show up in Vegas out to dinner separately, partly to get a feel for Marbury's value to his mates. The perception is Marbury wasn't a locker-room favorite, players jealous of the attention he receives.
"The biggest thing is getting to know people, and it goes a lot further than basketball," D'Antoni said. "Basketball, we'll figure it out. You got to make the locker room right."
The Knicks this week signed point guard Chris Duhon, but Marbury's issue cuts deeper than replacing him with another body. It's about the new regime's desire to symbolically change the culture.
When asked about Marbury's status, D'Antoni said, "Steph is on the team. [Duhon] is another guard we added who we think can push the ball, is a good defensive player. Just because one goes in, doesn't mean another goes out."
Privately, Marbury desperately wants to stay and has done everything to ingratiate himself with D'Antoni, including showing up first to Vegas, along with David LeeDavid Lee .
"It's a system my game is built for," Marbury said. "To have the opportunity to play in the system is definitely gratifying."
But he is too proud to beg. "It doesn't matter as long as I'm playing basketball," Marbury said. "That's the most important thing. As long as I get the opportunity to get on the dance floor and play, it doesn't matter if I'm playing here or there. It's a business. If they choose to go that way, I'll understand. I won't take it personally."