Newsday’s Alan Hahn reports the New York Knicks are preparing to waive Stephon Marbury — with Miami a likely destination for the Coney Island product — despite the veteran point guard apparently dedicating himself to conditioning over the summer.
Though removing the controversial Marbury from the locker room is believed to have been a foregone conclusion for some time – the old addition-by-subtraction theory – it is also well known within the walls of 2 Penn Plaza that Donnie Walsh is having trouble getting comfortable with the idea of handing someone nearly $20 million to go play for another team. Especially when that player might be in the best shape of his career and focused – yes, rarely a word attributed to Marbury – to prove a great deal of critics wrong.
Make no mistake; all indications from those who have seen him are that Marbury is physically more ready for this season than the previous two. The left ankle is healed after surgery last January to remove bone spurs. His weight is reportedly down to 200 pounds after he spent the summer training in Southern California – “Running the Hollywood Hills,” as has been repeatedly said from those in his camp. He has refreshingly been mostly under the radar throughout the summer, with nary a bizarre interview to be seen on YouTube (OK, he did have his “Starbury” logo tattooed on his skull).
Marbury, who created a huge divide between himself and teammates after he went AWOL in Phoenix last November, stayed to himself with his workouts at the MSG Training Center this offseason until yesterday, when he joined the other Knicks veterans in pickup games. One observer from yesterday’s workout noted the uneasy atmosphere among the other players. “You could just feel the hate,” the person said.
I’ll ‘fess up, when Isiah Thomas acquired Marbury, I actually believed the latter would make the most of his opportunity playing for hometown team. In terms of paychecks and Jeep blowjobs, I wasn’t far off. Now that the Knicks are on the brink of paying Marbury to be play alongside D-Wade, I do wish Hahn and his colleagues would consider the real victims of this mooted transcation. Not Cablevision’s shareholders, but the nation’s hoops bloggers, who will have far less fodder to work with the moment Stephon leaves New York.