On the same day Isiah Thomas and a Knicks executive issued contradictory statements regarding when and if G Stephon Marbury might return to the club, the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola opines “Marbury’s prolonged absence tells you everything you need to know about the state of the franchise.”
The organization acted appropriately in the days and weeks after Marbury™s father, Donald, passed away on Dec. 2. The fact that the entire team, including Thomas, showed up at the funeral is a tremendous gesture. They have been overly sensitive toward Marbury™s feelings to the point where they are now covering for him even though it is clear that Marbury should have rejoined the team long ago.
If Marbury wants to remain on bereavement leave indefinitely that™s fine. But it is about time that the Knicks tell the veteran point guard that he is no longer getting paid for each game he misses. The grieving process of a loved one never ends but eventually an employee has an obligation to return to work.
The fact that Marbury is at odds with Thomas doesn™t excuse him from abandoning his teammates and missing valuable time. Also, the timing of Marbury™s latest hiatus leaves him open for criticism.
He returned to practice two weeks ago saying he was ready to play again. The following day, Marbury didn™t start but played well in a blowout loss to Indiana.
The next day, he skipped practice and then recorded a DNP against Cleveland. Since that game, Marbury hasn™t attended a single practice and has missed three straight games. During his latest absence, Marbury found enough time to formally file a grievance through the player™s association to fight the fine the Knicks levied against him when Marbury left the team for 24 hours last month.
On the one hand, the Knicks are telling Marbury to take as much time as he needs and are still paying him while Marbury is fighting them over one game™s pay.
There’s also the matter of the undermanned Knicks wasting a roster spot. If Marbury were waived, suspended or placed on a some kind of mental fatigue DL, surely there’s another point guard in the D-League, CBA, West 4th Street, etc. who could provide valuable minutes?