Amidst Stephon Marbury Drama, Knicks Can't Be Taken Seriously
I wonder if soon to be exiled Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury is auditioning for a spot on a realty game show.
He's currently starring in Survivor: Madison Square Garden, and defies the odds on a nearly daily basis by keeping his name on the payroll despite refusing to play twice in a six day stretch.
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Marbury still finds himself employed by the same company which not only kept Isiah Thomas on it's payroll, but gave him a raise despite under performing as both a coach and general manager, and even worse, getting himself in the middle of a sexual harassment lawsuit which cost his employer millions to settle.
If you choose to believe the Knicks, Marbury once again declined an opportunity to help out his team when they short on guards, opting instead to remain benched.
While most people are quick to place all the blame on Stephon, the Knicks have only themselves to blame for the mess they have on their hands.
During the offseason, amid speculation he wouldn't be part of the team with only a year left on his contract, management allowed Marbury to get himself in shape while convincing him he would be competing for a spot in new coach Mike D'Antoni's rotation, perhaps even as a starter.
Marbury was given minutes during the preseason, and looked decent enough to earn regular season minutes, assuming they would be there for him to have.
Sure enough, Marbury found himself glued to his seat on opening night, benched despite having done nothing wrong.
He was embarrassed in front of the very fan base he once considered himself a big part of.
After being told that he wasn't part of the Knicks future plans, Marbury was listed as inactive until last Friday, when the team traded away it's two leading scorers Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph.
He was (apparently) told that there would be 30-35 minutes available to him if he wanted, but he politely declined, leaving his teammates undermanned with only seven healthy bodies.
Following an injury to Nate Robinson, Marbury was again given a chance to play- even start according to Knicks sources, but once again declined.
Having had enough, Quentin Richardson finally came out and said what was likely on the minds of all his fellow teammates:
"The way the situation is, I don't consider him my teammate. He hasn't played with us all year. He doesn't want to play with us. This is the second time. I don't look at him as a teammate. Teammates don't do that, regardless what's going on with the coach. You don't do that to teammates. We were basically left out there."
The Knicks have allowed this circus to go on long enough, yet continue to sit on their hands and let this situation play out and continue to serve as a distraction for a team looking to leave problems this in the past while they look to move forward and in a different direction.
Donnie Walsh, for all the good things he has done, notably clearing the cap space in the hopes of cashing in on the 2010 free agent class, needs to do whatever it takes to get owner James Dolan to agree to releasing Marbury and paying him whatever he wants.
Incredibly, if and when Dolan signs that check, he can thank the men he brought in to turn things around.
D'Antoni wanted to have his team develop together, while not allowing for Marbury to take away the minutes of somebody who would be part of the long term future.
Unfortunately, the situation has become so mishandled that Stephon actually went from public enemy number one to a sympathetic character- at least up until he decided he wasn't going to step up for his teammates and play.
His selfishness may actually end up expediting his release, although the fact that we sit here fifteen games into the season with this situation still making headlines is pathetic.
Frankly, if D'Antoni had no intention of letting Marbury play once the regular season, then stronger efforts should have been made in making sure he wasn't on the roster come opening night.
Poor Patrick Ewing Jr. who worked his tail off during training camp and in the preseason could have made use of that roster spot, while providing the types of positive energy Marbury has perpetually sucked out of the World's Most Famous Arena.
Allowing this to carry on any further is just another example of why the Knicks continue to be a laughing stock of a franchise that cannot get out of it's own way.
Stephon Marbury needs to be released as soon as possible so the team can concentrate on trying to win basketball games.
Until that happens, the Knicks don't deserve to be taken seriously.
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