Marbury interested in Celts? 'Definitely'

Updated: January 5, 2009, 12:59 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Stephon Marbury took a break from his New York Knicks exile to fly to Minneapolis on Friday to watch his cousin, Sebastian Telfair, play for the Timberwolves. Marbury confirmed his desire to sign with the Boston Celtics if he can complete a contract buyout with the Knicks.

Asked if he's interested in reuniting in Boston with former Wolves teammates Kevin Garnett, during an appearance on Minnesota's local TV broadcast of Friday night's victory over Golden State, Marbury said: "Definitely."

"When I left here [in 1999], it wasn't about basketball," Marbury said. "When I was younger, I had a different disposition as far as how I wanted to live life. Reuniting with Kevin is something that I would love. Going to Boston would be great for basketball and for fans to see Kevin and I reunited, like when we were younger. There is some hope, if I can get out of my contract and they're interested in me. How can you deny the chance?"

ESPN.com, quoting sources with knowledge of the situation, reported Thursday that Boston is Marbury's preferred destination and the Celtics are indeed hopeful of signing the controversial guard.

"He's been a great talent in this league for a long time," All-Star Ray Allen said Sunday. "I don't know the situation that happened with him in New York, but I know he's got a lot of basketball left in him."

The fact remains, though, that Marbury and the Knicks have been at a stalemate in oft-contentious buyout talks since Dec. 1. In speaking with reporters Friday night before New York's home loss to Indiana, Knicks president Donnie Walsh hinted Marbury's reluctance to negotiate is the reason that the 31-year-old is not yet a free agent.

"If you're going to do a buyout, it takes two to tango," Walsh said. "You've got to agree on things."

But Walsh, who early in the season gave Marbury permission to talk with other teams, did express hope that negotiations would be reopened soon.

"I plan to talk to them next week," he said. "I don't know anything about teams that made offers as reported at all. If there is [interest from Boston], then that would seem to be motivation [for Marbury] to talk."

The Celtics have declined comment on ESPN.com's initial report. Boston coach Doc Rivers, asked before Friday's home win over Washington about the prospect of gambling on Marbury, cited league rules about discussing players under contract with other teams when he told reporters: "I can't talk about it, so I'm in the best position in the world right now."

But it's believed that the Celtics' concerns about their depth, after losing James Posey and P.J. Brown from last season's title team, have swelled noticeably since they followed up the best 29-game start in NBA history at 27-2 by losing three of the next four games on the road.

During the Wolves' broadcast, when asked if he ever wonders what might have been had he not forced a trade to New Jersey in 1999, Marbury said: "Yeah, I have. I'm not going to sit here and say I have never thought about that. I watched the guys play in the [2004] Western Conference finals and I was like, 'Man, I wish I was there playing with those guys.' I'm not going to say that never happens, because it does."

ESPN.com's Marc Stein contributed to this report.

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