Does Stephon Marbury Really Need the $400,000 to Feed the Family?

Thomas YungContributor IFebruary 24, 2009

"Why would I want to help them win a title? They are not doing anything for me. I am at risk. I have a lot of risk here! I have got my family to feed!"


The above is the infamous quote by Latrell Sprewell when he was offered a 3-year $21 million contract by the T-wolves at age 34 back in 2004.  


In the case of Stephon Marbury who is due $21 million this season alone is disputing  the $400,000 imposed on him for refusing to play in a game back in November of 2008.


Unlike Sprewell back then, money is clearly not the issue here, but if Marbury does not really need the money to feed his family, why is he risking further impact on whatever reputation he has left by threatening to drag the New York Knicks into a legal battle over the $400,000 imposed on him?


After all, the disputed sum is not even two percent of what he is getting this season just by sitting at home. It was a way for Stephon Marbury to get at the Knicks coaching and managing staff for not treating him with the respect that he believes he has earned.


Marbury's ulterior motive was to force the Knicks into releasing him with all the distractions so that he is able to sign with the Boston Celtics before March 1st as both sides have expressed interests.


An agreement has finally been reached between the Knicks and Stephon Marbury for a buyout but the terms of the buyout were not disclosed. Marbury has finally gotten what he wants and it is highly likely the Celtics are going to swoop in and sign this free agent.


Perhaps in the mind of Stephon Marbury, he felt he was wronged by the Knicks coaching staff for not letting him play or to start in the beginning of the season when he believes he could be the man to lead the team back into playoff contention if he got the opportunity to play a major role.


Mike D’Antoni, the coach of the Knicks, was not going to play Marbury major minutes after he decided to start Chris Duhon at the point guard position. The coach probably feels Marbury will eventually cause distractions and upset the team chemistry if he is not happy or not getting major minutes, so he decided altogether to shut him down for the rest of the season while Donnie Walsh explored any type of trade possibilities.


It seems that the coaching staff may have contributed to the situation at hand but most of the issues may have been escalated by Marbury himself. If he wants to play the game of basketball and thinks he is still capable of playing at the highest level, why did he not compromise on a larger pay cut for the money that he is getting for doing nothing anyways instead of storming out on Donnie Walsh back in 2008?


It seemed like a real possibility back in early December of 2008 when Walsh was ready to cut Marbury loose if the price was right despite Walsh’s philosophy of not wanting to pay off any player for leaving. At least Walsh was ready to sit down and discuss a buyout.


By not working out a buyout plan with Walsh back then, it shows Marbury is not ready to make a significant sacrifice, even for the game that he said he loves. He made a case for not accepting a buyout of more than $1 million less because it was the coaching staff that decided not to use him in the games and he did not walk out on the team. Therefore, he should not be getting a penny less of his $21 million-plus in salary this season.


Whether Stephon Marbury is able to help the Celtics to a consecutive title is up for debate. Whether the Celtics need Marbury to win a title is not up for debate since the Celtics are inevitably building up to another NBA Finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers with or without Stephon.


Marbury has not played this season and it is highly probable he will need at least ten to twenty games with the Cs for him to at least be effective.


If Marbury was waived at his first buy out meeting with the Knick in 2008, he would have been better prepared to contribute for a playoff contender with more games already under his belt.


It seems like we are going to be seeing more and more of Stephon Marbury in the press again as he will be closely monitored by the media wherever he goes. Lets just hope he does not bring the negative distractions to the team that he signs for.


And the answer is no, I don’t think Stephon really needs the $400,000 to feed the family.