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Marion still wants out of Phoenix, just not talking about it

10/1/2007 - NBA Shawn Marion Phoenix Suns + more

PHOENIX -- Shawn Marion still wants out of Phoenix. He won't
let that wish get in the way of his play as long as he's with the
Suns.

And that could well be through the entire upcoming season.

"I still feel the same way," Marion said at the Suns media day
on Monday.

He refused to explain the reasons for his unhappiness and tried
to put the matter to rest.

"I don't want to be bothered by this no more," Marion said.
"What's done is done. It's happened. It has nothing to do with the
team, the city or the fans."

Last week, Marion telephoned two reporters to express his desire
to be traded. He has spent his entire eight-year NBA career with
the Suns, making the all-star team four times, including each of
the last three seasons. But he had grown weary of reports that the
team was trying to trade him.

He has indicated in the past that his importance to the Suns was
not appreciated. He doesn't like being the third on the Suns' order
of stars behind Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.

The most contentious issue, however, might be the team's
apparent disinterest in extending Marion's contract. He is
Phoenix's highest-paid player this season at $16.4 million and will
earn $17.9 million for 2008-09 unless he decides to opt out of his
contract.

Marion was talking about none of this on Monday. He would not
say why he was so unhappy.

"There's a lot of stuff and details I'm not going to express,"
he said. "It's easy for people to look at certain stuff, but at
the end of the day nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors
except me and that person that was in the conversation."

Still, Marion was with his teammates on the bus to Tucson, where
the Suns begin a six-day training camp Tuesday.

"I came to play ball," he said. "I lace them up every night,
and I'm going to continue to do that."

Asked how important winning an NBA title was to him, Marion
said, "It's very important. At the same time, though, I think I've
got other things to look forward to, too."

General manager Steve Kerr and coach Mike D'Antoni downplayed
the situation. Kerr recalled a similar time when he was a teammate
of Scottie Pippen in Chicago.

"The last year we won a championship, at the beginning of
training camp, we had a similar issue, a contract dispute," Kerr
said. "It didn't affect the players because we enjoyed playing
together. It's business. Players put that aside. That's what we did
in Chicago and if I remember correctly we won a championship that
year."

Kerr wouldn't answer when asked if he thought Marion would
finish the season with the Suns.

"I'm not going to sit here and speculate on anything or talk
about personnel issues," Kerr said. "Those are things we talk
about internally. That's not something I'm going to address at this
point."

D'Antoni said Marion is upset with the business side of the
Suns, not the basketball side.

"I think he had to vent, and maybe he'll have to vent some
other time down the road," the coach said, "but for the most part
he'll come in and play hard and try to win a championship."

Nash said he wants to talk to Marion to "understand where he's
coming from and try to make it the best possible situation for
him."

He said it would be extremely difficult to find a player in a
trade that would help the Suns as much as Marion does.

"He's such a tremendous player, such a great talent, does so
many things that no one else can do," Nash said. "It would be
really difficult to replace him. ... There's just not a lot of
players like him. It would be sad if he were to go."