One by one, all the busts that former head honcho Isiah Thomas brought to Broadway are being sent packing. The latest to go is perhaps the most villainous and the face of the franchise’s recent failures, and no one was shedding a tear when Stephon Marbury was finally given the heave-ho.
The most ironic part of all of this is that Marbury will soon be joining the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics and have an opportunity to earn a ring. This after all the Coney Island native and ‘me-first’ point guard did to ensure the Knicks would be years away from legitimate title contention.
Following months of wrangling, the obituary for the Marbury era ended quietly with a short but sweet statement sent out by the organization:
“A comprehensive agreement was made this afternoon between the New York Knicks and Stephon Marbury. Under its terms, the grievance has been resolved and the Knicks have requested waivers on Stephon. No additional terms will be disclosed.”
An expensive marriage made in hell ends in the messiest of divorces and both parties actually benefit from the split. Marbury has been physically away from the team since being suspended after refusing to participate in a game in Detroit back on November 26. Prior to that, he sat on the bench either in his warm-ups or civvies. He did not see even one minute of action since the pre-season.
So it hasn’t exactly been like the Knicks have been dealing with Marbury’s sour and dour demeanor of late, but him still being on the roster was a drain on everyone, if they admitted it or not. The man that team president Donnie Walsh brought in during the offseason to take Marbury’s minutes has been a positive move. Chris Duhon has averaged 12.1 points and 7.9 assists per game playing a spirited ‘one’ guard. The problem with the four-year veteran has been too many minutes and he has taken a pounding over the first 56 games.
The former Chicago Bull is averaging over 38 minutes per game, an increase of 11 from his career numbers. He has done everything asked of him and then some. Just being the anti-Marbury may have been sufficient but he has actually being a productive player on the hardwood.
Another benefactor of Marbury’s excommunication and now buyout has been 5’9″ Nate Robinson. His first two years in the league were decent and he was viewed as a spark off the bench and an unlikely Slam Dunk champion. Well, Little Nate won his second dunk award this month but has also become a weapon on offense. In 50 games, Robinson has averaged nearly 18 points a game, up from his career average of 12.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni has said all the right things about Marbury throughout the season even though it was blatantly obvious that he couldn’t stand the sight of him. Even though he was in Phoenix at the time, D’Antoni couldn’t help but be aware of all the distractions that Marbury caused the team during his first four seasons in New York.
Now he’s going to be Doc Rivers’ problem. They say winning cures everything. Good thing for Marbury and his soon-to-be team that they have the third-best record in the NBA and are a good bet to repeat.
At least they were…