Trade fulfills dream to call MSG home

Updated: January 6, 2004, 4:52 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Stephon Marbury has always been a New York Knick at heart.

So being traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Knicks was the fulfillment of a dream for the Brooklyn, N.Y., native who as a child sneaked into his first game at Madison Square Garden.

What's next on his wish list?

"The only thing that I can visualize is winning the championship in New York City," Marbury said Tuesday in his first comments since the eight-player trade. "I mean I don't even know what life could probably be like after doing that."

The Suns sent the 26-year-old point guard, Anfernee Hardaway and Cezary Trebanski to the Knicks for Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Maciej Lampe, the rights to Milos Vujanic and two first-round draft picks in the deal Monday.

Neither Marbury nor Hardaway participated in the shootaround before Tuesday night's game against the Cavaliers because the players traded to Phoenix had not taken physical exams. Whether Marbury and Hardaway would play against Cleveland was a game-time decision.

Marbury said he's always felt close to his hometown team despite a career that took him to Phoenix, New Jersey and Minnesota.

The kid who won the city high school championship on the floor of Madison Square Garden called his previous stops in the NBA learning experiences.

"Being a kid from New York, people don't understand what it is to be a Knick fan," Marbury said. "Even as a professional basketball player, the tradition of the Knicks still runs in your blood."

Hardaway, who had been unproductive with the Suns, said playing in New York will help him elevate his game.

"It was bittersweet because things didn't work out in Phoenix the way that I planned, the way that they planned," Hardaway said. "But going to New York gives me an opportunity to help the Knicks win and also show that I can still play this game."

Marbury and Hardaway were already talking about a playoff run. Marbury believes Knicks president Isiah Thomas has put together a group of players with different playing styles that will be tough to match.

Marbury said having Thomas, a player he idolized, bring him back home made the deal even better.

"I'm saying 'thank you' to him and he's saying 'thank you' to me," Marbury said. "It's a great situation."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press