Marbury's Knicks status "not resolved"

December 1, 2008 6:14:14 PM PST
Stephon Marbury did not get the divorce he wants, but he and the New York Knicks agreed to a separation. Marbury was ordered Monday to stay away from the Knicks while the team looks for a solution to its $21 million problem - one that has lingered since the preseason and exploded last week when the team suspended him for refusing to play and he retaliated with a series of inflammatory remarks about coach Mike D'Antoni.

Marbury's future was "not resolved" during a meeting with team president Donnie Walsh at the Knicks' practice facility, according to the players' association attorney representing him. The sides will continue to talk, but Marbury won't be around in the meantime.

"After meeting with Stephon and his representative this afternoon, we have directed Stephon not to participate in practice or attend games until further notice," Walsh said in a statement.

"We want to continue to meet with him to discuss a long-term resolution."

Marbury will earn about $21 million this season in the final year of his contract and is adamant that he won't give much of it up in a buyout. However, that salary makes him nearly impossible to trade, and the Knicks are reluctant to give him all his money to leave.

Walsh's decision to ban Marbury comes on the heels of the latest trouble in his stormy Knicks career. The Knicks suspended the New York native one game and penalized him nearly $400,000 last week for what they claimed was his refusal of D'Antoni's request to come off the inactive list and play in a game at Detroit last Wednesday.

Marbury then blasted the coach in a pair of stories in the New York Post, saying he didn't trust D'Antoni and adding that "the marriage is over."

Not yet, though.

Marbury arrived at the team's practice facility at 2:25 p.m. Monday and met with Walsh for about 20 minutes. His representative, Hal Biagas, walked out of the building shortly after 3 p.m. and into the car where Marbury was waiting.

"(We'll) try to keep this in house and so no comment at this time," Biagas said. "We'll keep you posted if things happen."

The decision to ban Marbury from the team is similar to what Indiana is doing this season with Jamaal Tinsley and did in the past with Ron Artest. Walsh, the former Pacers president, had little choice after Marbury lashed out at coaches and teammates Monday.

"I sat there for three weeks and didn't say one word," Marbury told The Post. "I didn't hear one of my teammates say, 'Why isn't Stephon Marbury playing? This is a good system for him, even to play with the second unit and bring more firepower.' "When things got bad and then worse, guys like Quentin Richardson say, 'I don't consider him a teammate. He let his teammates out to dry.' He didn't care I was his teammate when I was banished. They left me out for dead. It's like we're in a foxhole and I'm facing the other way. If I got shot in the head, at least you want to get shot by the enemy. I got shot in the head by my own guys in my foxhole. And they didn't even give me an honorable death."

Knicks players have grown tired of Marbury's many dramas, especially because they'd like more focus on their improved play. New York (8-8) ended November at .500 or better for the first time since going 7-6 in 2004.

"I don't know what to say to that, more than I'm sorry he feels that way and I don't get the impression that we've done that," forward David Lee said. "But moving forward, as I said, this has just got to get taken care of whenever it gets taken care of, and we've just got to focus on winning. And buying into comments like that or responding to them does nothing more than take the focus off our team and winning."

Richardson criticized Marbury after the game in Detroit, when the Knicks were forced to play short-handed after injuries and trades. He seemed amused when asked about Marbury's comments after practice, surrounded by perhaps 25 media members.

"He's entitled to his opinion just like I am. And obviously I said what I said and he feels differently about that, and he's entitled to that," Richardson said. "The main thing we want to do is we want to play basketball and win games. These aren't the things we want to come off the court and talk about."

Marbury isn't part of D'Antoni's plans and has been on the inactive list most of the season. The former All-Star, who previously feuded with coaches Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, kept quiet until the Knicks suspended him after the second time he declined an opportunity to play.

"Mike had no intentions of me playing basketball here," Marbury said. "He gave me straight disrespect. It was beyond disrespect. He put in (Danilo) Gallinari, whose back is messed up and (who) didn't participate at all in training camp ahead of me (in the season opener). ... That's saying, 'I'm letting you have it right now.' He was sticking it to me."

Asked about Marbury's playing time comments, D'Antoni said: "I hate that. Obviously, he's in a tough position and I don't think anybody's thrilled with where anybody is, but that's not really true. Again, I'm sure he feels that way, and I can understand."

If D'Antoni never planned to use Marbury, the Knicks would have saved themselves a month's worth of headaches by getting rid of him before the season. It's unclear if Monday's decision means Walsh will accelerate plans to get Marbury off the roster.

"I don't think Steph's a bad guy, so I wouldn't be throwing a party or anything like that," Lee said. "He's been a part of this team since I've been here, and I've never had any issues with Steph. But moving forward, obviously it is a little bit of a distraction. Whatever needs to happen is going to happen, and we'll move on from there."