Hunter says union might help Knicks, Marbury resolve dispute
If Stephon Marbury elects to seek the National Basketball Players Association's help to end his roster quagmire with the Knicks, the union's chief said he's ready.
"We may be engaging the team in trying to see if there's some kind of mutually beneficial position that the parties can arrive at," Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBPA, told Bloomberg News. "Maybe there's somebody willing to trade for him. Maybe you can do a buyout. It depends on the parties."
Marbury has been on the inactive list for each of the Knicks' first three games. Marbury is so far out of the team's plans that coach Mike D'Antoni tabbed Jerome James instead of Marbury to replace the injured Eddy Curry on the active list against Milwaukee, even though the 7-foot-1, 285-pound James played in just two games last season and would seem a horrible fit for an up-tempo system.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh met with Marbury on Monday, but there was no resolution to the point guard's stalemate with the team, and Walsh wouldn't put a timetable on a solution.
Walsh said he wants to find out coach Mike D'Antoni's reasoning for keeping Marbury inactive before making a decision.
"I want to understand why and I want our coach to If he's got a valid reason, that's one thing," Walsh told reporters. "If not, that's what we are talking about."
Hunter said that the union can't influence the team on whether to put Marbury on the active roster.
"When it comes to whether a coach is inclined to play him, that's a different issue," Hunter told Bloomberg News. "That's a sacrosanct area in the relationship that we're not free to invade."
Walsh, though, said he believes that Marbury can play in D'Antoni's up-tempo offense.
"I think he can play in this style," Walsh said, according to The New York Times. "I think that what Mike is trying to do is play younger guys, but on the way to that I think Stephon can be helpful. That's what I've got to find out."
Marbury is in the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $21 million this season, and the Knicks surely won't re-sign him.
That salary, plus his history of clashing with coaches, makes Marbury difficult to trade. He's already made it clear he won't take a buyout for less than his full salary, so Walsh acknowledged there "aren't a lot of options out there" for getting rid of Marbury.
Hunter told Bloomberg News that Marbury isn't willing to accept a buyout for less than what he's owed by the Knicks.
"He isn't inclined to accept 80 cents on the dollar," Hunter said. "Our principal role is to make sure he gets paid."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.