Knicks, Marbury, NBPA reportedly to meet Monday

Updated: November 29, 2008, 11:21 AM ET
By Chris Sheridan | ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Stephon Marbury has been suspended for one game and docked two games' pay by the New York Knicks, who are alleging he refused to play Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons.

Marbury was suspended without pay for Saturday's game against Golden State and was also fined 1/110th of his salary for his actions in Detroit, meaning his penalty amounts to almost $400,000 of his $20.84 million salary for this season.

Under the suspension, he will not be welcome at any Knicks practices or in the home locker room at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

The New York Post reported Saturday that Marbury, Knicks president Donnie Walsh and National Basketball Players Association lawyer Hal Biagas are set to meet Monday to try and reach a buyout agreement.

"Of course I want something resolved," Marbury told the Post. "I want to go forward."

Why Marbury matters

Stephon Marbury may not be the player he once was, but over the previous two seasons he averaged a combined 15.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. He's one of eight true NBA point guards with such glossy numbers.

Steph still has value
  PPG APG Salary
Mo Williams 17.2 6.2 $8.4M
Deron Williams 17.5 9.9 $5.1M
Chris Paul 19.4 10.4 $4.6M
Tony Parker 18.7 5.7 $11.6M
Steve Nash 17.7 11.3 $12.3M
Marbury 15.7 5.3 $20.8M
Baron Davis 21.1 7.8 $11.3M
Chauncey Billups 17.0 7.0 $11.1M

Marbury has disputed the Knicks' allegation that he refused to play Wednesday, telling the New York Post: "I never told [coach Mike D'Antoni] I'm not going to play. Those words never came out of my mouth. That's insubordination."

Walsh, in a statement announcing the suspension on Friday, said: "A player's central obligation is to provide his professional services when called upon. Because he refused the coach's request to play in the team's last game, we had no choice but to impose disciplinary action."

Later Friday in an interview with NBC News 4 New York's Bruce Beck, Marbury said there was no jersey in his locker in Detroit, and he was "shocked" he was "suspended for no reason."

Marbury added he and D'Antoni spoke Wednesday morning and "basically went our separate ways."

Biagas, who is advising Marbury, told ESPN.com on Friday: "We feel the discipline imposed by the Knicks is baseless. We plan to file a grievance."

At practice Friday in Greenburgh, N.Y., D'Antoni shed little light on exactly what transpired during his conversation with Marbury prior to the Knicks' loss to the Pistons, although D'Antoni acknowledged offering Marbury the chance to be the team's starting two-guard.

"That might have come up somewhere," D'Antoni said. "I'm not going to get into the details of 'he said, I said, that said.' You know the premise of the story, and you'll just have to kind of pick it up. Like I said, it's a regrettable situation for everybody, and we'll work it out hopefully this weekend and then move on."

"I don't need to say exactly what happened. My intention was for him to play, he didn't, and so that's where we are and that's how we'll go forward."

According to the Post on Saturday, D'Antoni told Marbury the offer to start was a "win-win" situation and would be a good move in Marbury's career.

Marbury, according to the Post, shouted at D'Antoni: "You're not the expert on what's good for my career."

The Knicks' options include imposing a longer suspension, trying to reach a buyout agreement or simply sending Marbury home with pay until he can be traded or is released.

In his interview with the Post on Friday, Marbury said he can't play for D'Antoni because he doesn't trust him. "We need to separate from the relationship," he said. "The marriage is over. It's a done deal." Marbury said his suspicion of D'Antoni has reached the point that "I wouldn't trust him to walk my dog across the street."

D'Antoni did speak Friday on the subject of his relationship with Marbury, which first went sour when Marbury briefly played under D'Antoni in 2003-04 with the Phoenix Suns. The Knicks had insisted back in September that every player would enter camp with a clean slate, although D'Antoni acknowledged Friday that his history with Marbury had affected their relationship.

"Do you have influences from past years? Sure you do," D'Antoni said. "You don't just go in like nothing ever happened, here we go. So what I've tried to do is make a team that's together, unified and will play hard and represent the Knicks as well as they can, and we make decisions based on that, right or wrong."

The Knicks are currently down to just one healthy guard, Anthony Roberson, although starter Chris Duhon is expected to play through a sore back he injured in a collision with teammate Quentin Richardson.

Center Jared Jeffries (fractured leg) went through non-contact drills for the first time Friday, while Nate Robinson was limited to shooting drills because of a groin injury. Robinson is questionable for Saturday night, and Cuttino Mobley, acquired in last week's trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, has not yet been cleared by team doctors.

With Marbury absent -- as was Tim Thomas, who was excused for personal reasons -- and so many others injured, five of the Knicks' six healthy players had to go though a drill Friday matched against a team comprising assistant coaches Herb Williams, Dan D'Antoni, Phil Weber, Kenny Atkinson and assistant general manager Allan Houston.

Despite their 7-8 record, the combustion effect from everything that has transpired in New York in the past several days -- the trades of Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, the suspension of Marbury, the courting of LeBron James -- has created enough disarray to match just about anything the troubled Knicks franchise has gone through in the past five tumultuous seasons.

A buyout of Marbury would seem the next logical step, although Walsh has been resistant to the idea. It is unknown whether owner James Dolan is willing to offer one, and the Knicks have never presented a settlement offer to Marbury. But all those things could change by Monday.

"I'm not mad at him," D'Antoni said of Marbury. "It's just a tough situation for everybody, and it didn't work out for anybody, and now we've got to get through it and try to get the parties to agree."

If not, Marbury is due back at practice Monday, when the soap opera/circus -- Richardson even went so far in Detroit as to say he no longer considers Marbury a teammate -- enters its next act.

"[D'Antoni] created this from the beginning," Marbury said, according to the Post. "Why did he create this environment? I came here ready to play, focused, taking on the role I was ready to take on. They said, 'We don't want you.' I'm not in the plans. I said, 'OK, no problem.'

"I didn't create this," Marbury said. "I'm sitting inside the car. I'm not behind the wheel in the driver's seat. I have no control of the wheel of the car, if we're turning or going straight. I'm sitting in the backseat. He's not going to play me because my heart isn't in it, because the way he treated me. That's on him, not me."

Chris Sheridan is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.

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