Now Stephon Marbury Doesn’t Want To Play

There’s a new aria in the never-ending soap opera that is the relationship between guard Stephon Marbury and the Knicks. After weeks of agitating for playing time under new coach Mike D’Antoni, the team finally seemed to acquiesce with Friday’s trade of Jamal Crawford. Perfect fix right? Well, according to, now Marbury doesn’t want the minutes created by Crawford’s absence, even though New York was forced to play with a depleted bench after sending out three players and waiting for the arrival of their replacements.

(One of these guys no longer is in New York. The other is in the same seat.)

Welcome to Madison Square Garden, where solutions create more problems because you can’t get rid of enough misogynistic egomaniacs to function as a reasonable sports franchise. While Isiah Thomas has been busy throwing his daughter under the bus for his own attempted suicide, Marbury’s been agitating to get out of town, then insisting he’s staying, and then blabbing about a need to play only to insist he isn’t going to.

Understandably, D’Antoni isn’t even hiding the frustration any more. Hell, we aren’t hiding the frustration anymore, either.

“When the trades went down this afternoon, I said, ‘Look Steph, one of the principals are gone, Jamal Crawford. There’s 30 to 35 minutes out there, and they’re yours if you want them. Are you ready to go?’ ” D’Antoni said.

According to D’Antoni, Marbury replied that he “wasn’t comfortable with the situation, and he did not want to play. So at that point, I go, ‘O.K., that’s your decision, and that’s fine.’ That’s it.”

Sounds like the right time for Steph to hit the road, no? Well, given his contract and the Knicks need to occupy cap space until 2010 — remember, that was one of the primary motives behind their three-way trade yesterday — Marbury may not be going anywhere, except back behind the bench where he can sit in a suit and rub his tattooed scalp. And given D’Antoni’s “option” for Marbury to refuse the playing time (he was asked to play, not ordered on the court), it doesn’t sound like the Knicks have a potential “breach of contract” case to make.

All of which means we’re going to see a lot more of Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson and Anthony Roberson (Anthony Roberson! Really!) running D’Antoni’s uptempo New York backcourt. That, my friends, is not good for anyone who likes basketball.

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