To understand Stephon Marbury's, we have to revisit the path that got him to the point where he seems to be staring down the barrel of a gun.
Stephon was selected fourth overall by the Bucks in the 1996 draft, but was immediately traded to the T-Wolves, who happened to have a young blossoming star in Kevin Garnett. Marbury and Garnett had been good friends since high school, as they were both selected to play in the 1995 McDonald's All-American team.
Marbury had everything he needed in Minnesota, he was playing well (averaging 17.7 ppg and 8.6 apg) and excelling alongside Kevin Garnett. The T-Wolves made the playoffs in 1997 and 1998, and the team seemed to be showing promise.
Despite having all an NBA point guard can dream of beside him—Kevin Garnett, and a team of players that could one day win a championship—the mighty "Starbury" felt he was a little to big for the likes of KG and the T-Wolves. His agent David Faulk demanded a trade, and he was shipped off to the New Jersey Nets.
I have to give Marbury some credit for his work with the Nets, and later, the Suns. He averaged 23 ppg with the Nets in the 2000-01 season, which was his career high. Stephon became an All-Star, and led both New Jersey and Phoenix to the playoffs in his time there. Instead of taking matters into his own hands and demanding trades, he was shipped from the Nets to the Suns, and then finally to the Knicks.
This is the part where it all seems to go slightly wrong for Starbury—and by slightly, I mean insanely wrong.
Stephon's time with the Knicks started off strong—he got the Knicks straight to the playoffs and averaged 21.7 ppg in his second season with the now-disgraced franchise.
It's after this point where all the trouble began. Constant feuds with coach Larry Brown led to a decline in Marbury's performance. Some may say that Brown could be to blame for Marbury's behaviour—but regardless of the situation, an NBA player does not behave the way he did towards their coach. Reports say that Marbury came to blows with Brown in front of the rest of the team, and even attemped to blackmail his coach.
After Marbury essentially sabotaged the Knicks, Brown was fired, and the now NBA-pariah Isiah Thomas took over to add another bullet to the Knicks.
Marbury's relationship with Isiah was just as bad as the relationship he held with Brown. The two constantly argued, and eventually Isiah benched Stephon for a number of games. The Knicks' supposed franchise player had turned into one of the league's most disgraced players for his egotistical, selfish, arrogant, and disrespectful behaviour to those around him.
Now that Isiah is gone (just about), the team is in the hands of Donnie Walsh—a decent human being—and Marbury is regarded around the league as a complete disgrace.
So where does this leave "Starbury"? He has one more year on his $21 million contract with the Knicks—and then what? Who will take on the famous Marbury, and what moves will the Knicks make to try and get something in return for him?
The future seems inevitable—Marbury is leaving the Knicks. But before all you Knicks fans jump with joy, hold on a second. There are several possibilities as to where and how Stephon will leave.
By no means should Stephon Marbury be thought of as a tradable asset, but he is a player that needs to leave the Knicks ASAP. At some point this season—or most likely, next offseason, as this is the time when teams want to clear cap space—the Knicks could reach an agreement with a team such as Miami or Golden State to send Stephon away for some pieces.
The Heat would be a good suitor for Marbury. They're in rebuilding mode after an awful season, Pat Riley has a way with dealing with troublesome players, and the team is lacking a decent point guard to add to a core of Dwayne Wade, Shawn Marion, and Michael Beasley.
The possibility of such a deal hangs on how well Mario Chalmers plays during his rookie season. If Chalmers shows promise, the need for a point guard in Miami diminishes, and the Knicks have one less team to trade Stephon to.
Golden State is another option. The team is also in rebuilding mode, looking to build around a core of Monta Ellis and Andres Biedrins, and is still grieving form the sudden move of Baron Davis to the Clippers. They need a decent point guard—and as bad as Stephon may be off the court, the guy can play basketball at a respectable level.
Other teams—such as Charlotte, who are looking to move Raymond Felton—could be in play, but the Knicks would have to give up much more than just Marbury to get Charlotte's attention. The Knicks cant expect to acquire too much by trading Marbury—after all, if you try to sell a turd, you're not going to get much.
This is simple but more painful—let Marbury play one last season in New York, then acquire a bunch of cap room and let Marbury sabotage some other team. This would leave the Knicks with an opportunity to enter the 2010 season with some cap space, which happens to be when LeBron's contract runs out.
Wherever Stephon ends up, he's got a lot of work to do to redeem himself from the disaster he's created in New York—and until he does so, he shall remain a complete waste of talent to many.