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07-02-2005, 11:49 AM
With Knicks Rebuilding, Could Marbury Be Next?

Published: July 2, 2005

A vision of the Knicks' future began to take shape this week when the team acquired four players and created a new framework for the "younger and more athletic model that Isiah Thomas touts almost daily.

Thomas, the team president, for the first time this week admitted that the Knicks were in a rebuilding mode. He has traded one veteran (Kurt Thomas), might waive another (Allan Houston) and will unload two players with huge contracts (Tim Thomas and Penny Hardaway) by next summer.

Once committed to a win-now mentality, Thomas's priorities have clearly shifted, and his recent actions raise the possibility that he might trade his most prized acquisition, point guard Stephon Marbury.

Marbury is 28 and is owed $60 million over the next three seasons. The contract will make him difficult to move, but there are already indications that Thomas will try.

This week, a Western Conference team executive and a player agent each independently said that the Knicks wanted to move Marbury.

"There's a desire for that to happen," said the agent, who requested anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize future dealings with the Knicks.

There are no signs that Thomas has put any proposals on the table, but executives around the league say they will not be surprised if Marbury is offered in the weeks ahead.

A spokesman for the Knicks would not comment.

It would undoubtedly be a difficult decision for Thomas, who acquired Marbury in a celebrated trade with Phoenix 17 months ago. Marbury, a Brooklyn native, is popular with fans and is the team's best player. He has career averages of 20.6 points and 8.3 assists, ranking him among the best point guards in the league.

But Marbury has played for four teams in his nine-year career and has yet to win a playoff series. Although still young, he has a lot of mileage on his body, having entered the league at age 19. He often sat out practice last season because of knee soreness.

Once deemed untouchable by Thomas, Marbury no longer wears that mantle.

In April, after the Knicks completed a 33-49 season, Thomas was asked if he would trade Marbury.

"The way I feel right now, I'd trade my mother if the right deal came along," he said then.

This week, Thomas acquired a potential successor, the 5-foot, 9-inch Nate Robinson. The Suns took Robinson with the 21st pick in the draft, then traded him to the Knicks, along with Quentin Richardson, for Kurt Thomas. Knicks officials are exuberant about Robinson's potential.

A product of the University of Washington, Robinson is quick (he set a state record in the 110-meter hurdles in high school ), can dunk with both hands and is built like a linebacker. In fact, he was a two-way player in high school and spent a year in Washington's football program as a cornerback before deciding to concentrate on basketball.

Thomas said Robinson's height was the only reason he was not drafted higher than the three point guards taken ahead of him - Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Raymond Felton, who went three through five.

"I think if he was 6-2, he probably would have been the No. 1 pick in the draft or the No. 2 pick in the draft," Thomas said Thursday.

The Knicks also like Robinson's confidence and poise. Although Robinson might not be ready to step into an N.B.A. lineup immediately, the Knicks could groom him for the job while using Jamal Crawford, who played point guard for most of his career, as the starter if they trade Marbury.

Crawford and Robinson are viewed as good fits for a running team. Marbury, despite his quickness, is viewed as a half-court guard who is reluctant to push the tempo.

Thomas has visions of creating an East Coast version of the Suns, and his moves this week reflected that.

In Channing Frye, taken eighth in the draft, Thomas got a mobile big man who can spread defenses and run the floor. In Robinson, he got perhaps the fastest player in the draft. In Richardson, he got a 25-year-old shooter who has experience in an up-tempo offense.

Where that leaves Marbury is unclear. But as Thomas continues to restructure the Knicks around younger, quicker players with more reasonable salaries, the idea of dealing Marbury does not seem so far-fetched.

What is clear is that the Knicks are charting a new course. When he was asked on draft night if he was rebuilding Thomas said, "without question."

When he arrived in December 2003, Thomas said the goal was to win immediately. But this week, he said that the debilitating injuries to Houston forced him to re-evaluate.

"Our team is going to be totally different than the team you saw play its last game," Thomas said.

Nets Start the Pitches

Nets Coach Lawrence Frank flew to Atlanta yesterday and went to Shareef Abdur-Rahim's house to woo him. Frank was an assistant coach in Vancouver when Abdur-Rahim, a free-agent power forward, played there, and they enjoyed a close relationship. The Nets still have to bring Abdur-Rahim in for a workout.

Donyell Marshall is another veteran free agent the Nets are considering, but the Nets are believed to be focusing on Abdur-Rahim.

"Shareef and his wife were really impressed with Lawrence taking time to come down," said Aaron Goodwin, Abdur-Rahim's agent.

The Nets have only the midlevel exception, about $5 million, to offer, but they could pay more if Portland agrees to a sign-and-trade deal.

Lee Signs Rookie Contract

The Knicks signed David Lee, the 30th overall pick, to a rookie contract. Terms were not disclosed, but under the N.B.A.'s rookie scale, Lee will have two years guaranteed, at about $1.4 million.

The Knicks expect to sign their other two draft picks, Channing Frye and Nate Robinson, today. The Knicks also picked up the fourth-year option on forward Mike Sweetney, extending his deal through the 2006-7 season.

scroll down to find (http://www.hoopshype.com/rumors.htm)

Might be a far-fetched idea to get him some way.

07-02-2005, 01:38 PM
Get this guy in here! With Marbury we are gonna be a contender. If we waive Finley it won't hurt us that much because we could move Terry to the 2 spot or trade Terry and Taw in a sign and trade for good SG.

07-06-2005, 01:34 AM
Only if knicks take TAW and give us some draft picks back. Personally I would just keep finley and pay the amount we owe rather than paying marbury.

07-06-2005, 09:50 AM
Just say NO!, HELL NO! to Marbury.

Teams get worse when he signs on, and then get better when he leaves, and there's a long record to examine in support of that observation.

He's a player for whom it's tough to figure where would be a good team for him to end up. He doesn't run a team well, doesn't make other players better, and yet he's sold as a PG. As he ages, he's beginning to look more and more like a one-dimensional utility player. Growing talk of his physical decline is also troubling.

Marbury is the LAST type of player the Mavericks need.

He's Zeke's baby, let Zeke nurse him.

07-06-2005, 10:19 PM
From Peter Vescey:

"Stephon Marbury is the man who put the "diss" back in distribute."

07-07-2005, 09:01 AM
Peter Vescey is an idiot. There is NO Way I want any part of Marbury here.

07-07-2005, 10:00 AM
Thomas Denies the Knicks Are Shopping Marbury

Published: July 7, 2005

LAS VEGAS, July 6 - Isiah Thomas's tone was sharp and his stare icy Wednesday as he angrily denied reports that he might trade Stephon Marbury, the Knicks' star guard.

Thomas, the team president, was frequently profane in his first public comments on the speculation surrounding Marbury, which began with an article in The New York Times on Saturday. A Western Conference team executive and a player agent had independently said that Marbury was being made available by the Knicks.

Similar reports have since surfaced in other news media outlets, all citing unnamed team executives around the league.

"That is so far from the truth," Thomas said testily, a few minutes after the Knicks played their first summer league game here. "And I'm ashamed for you guys that you even have to ask me that, because there is absolutely no truth to it at all."

Thomas and Marbury are next-door neighbors in Westchester County and are known to be close. Marbury, a former All-Star, was Thomas's first major acquisition after he took over operations 19 months ago.

Asked if he needed to reassure Marbury about his future, Thomas said: "He and I and all of New York City know where I stand with him and where he stands with me. In my neighborhood, we say: 'We don't get down like that. We don't roll like that.' " [Editorial: Wondering in what part of Westchester they talk like that.]

Trading Marbury is not as unthinkable as it sounds, however. Thomas recently admitted that the Knicks were in a rebuilding mode and that he was committed to making the roster younger and more athletic.

Marbury is only 28, but he is heading into his 10th season and last season struggled with sore knees. He does not fit in with the younger up-tempo lineup that Thomas has promoted. The Knicks' other two point guards, the veteran Jamal Crawford and the rookie Nate Robinson, are better fits for a running team. Marbury is also owed about $77 million over the next four years, making him a salary-cap burden and a difficult player to move.

But other team executives said that they expected the Knicks to try.

"Tell the G.M., whoever the G.M. is, to put his name on it," Thomas said, referring to the reports in the news media.

In April, after the Knicks finished a 33-49 season, the question of trading Marbury was posed to Thomas. "The way I feel right now, I'd trade my mother if the right deal came along," he said. [Editorial: Were you lying then, or are you lying now, Zeke?]

Reminded of that comment Wednesday, Thomas said: "I am for the New York Knicks. There's my wife and my kids, and right now, there's the New York Knicks. I've even put the Knicks before sometimes God on Sunday and my mom sometimes. I'm down for the Knicks. We've got guys who I like a lot. We're on the right track, and we're moving in the right direction."

Marbury, Thomas said, has "never been in play," and the Knicks will "never put him in play."[Editorial: Liar.]

Thomas ended his brief session with reporters with a more profane version of those sentiments, then concluded jokingly: "I'm done. That's my Bob Knight speech for the day."

Thomas offered no insight on his search for a coach. Herb Williams holds the job until further notice, and he watched the summer league game at Cox Pavilion from the stands, next to Thomas. The assistant Mark Aguirre coached the team of rookies and free agents.

The Knicks have been waiting to see whether Larry Brown will leave the Detroit Pistons as coach. Brown battled health issues all last season, flirted with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the N.B.A. finals and remains in limbo after a recent stay at the Mayo Clinic to treat a bladder condition.

"I just want to get well and coach the Pistons," Brown told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I've been saying that for a long time, but nobody seems to believe me. I don't know what else I can say."

Thomas has hinted he might not hire a coach until August, presumably to determine whether Brown will become available.

"I have great respect for the Pistons and Larry Brown," Thomas said.

Referring to the Pistons' waiting game regarding Brown, he added: "If that's the scenario, I wish them a lot of luck. They'll take care of their business, and we'll take care of ours."