Report: Marbury willing to listen
Updated: January 22, 2009, 2:42 PM ETESPN.com news services
If Greece calls, Stephon Marbury is all ears.The exiled New York Knicks point guard said in an e-mail he will consider an offer from Greek club team Olympiacos if one is forthcoming, according to the New York Post. "I will listen to what they have to say," Marbury wrote in an e-mail, according to the report. Representatives of the Greek club have contacted the Knicks in an effort to begin a dialogue on what it would take to get Marbury released from his contract, sources told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan. Marbury is aware of Olympiacos' interest but has had no contact with the club, a source close to the Knicks told Sheridan. The source said he expected additional dialogue on the subject in the next few days. Olympiacos, which competes in the top-tier Euroleague, shook up the NBA during the offseason when it signed former Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Childress, a restricted free agent, to a lucrative contract. The team's owners have said they're willing to spend to make their club the best Europe has to offer. According to reports in Greece, the team's owners have said they are interested in offering about $15 million to broker a buyout for Marbury and bring him overseas, the Post reported. Hal Biagas, who is representing Marbury for the NBA players' union, said he has not yet been contacted by Olympiacos, but looks forward to hearing from the club this week. "We'll proceed and see what they have to say," he said, according to the Post. Olympiacos recently lost Childress for six to eight weeks after he returned to the United States for surgery to repair a sports hernia. The club is seeking to acquire a replacement player in time for the start of the Top 16 phase of the Euroleague season, which begins Jan. 29 and runs through March 12. Marbury has been exiled since early in the season by the Knicks, who have been unable to make any substantial progress in buyout talks with the former All-Star. Marbury is in the final season of his contract and is making $20.8 million to sit on the sideline. He has offered to give back $1 million to secure his release, but the Knicks have asked for more. Also, Knicks president Donnie Walsh remains convinced that a viable trade opportunity involving Marbury could arise between now and the Feb. 19 trade deadline. It would be highly unusual, but not unprecedented, for a Greek club to broker a buyout between an NBA team and a player. In summer 2007, when the Houston Rockets acquired the rights to Luis Scola from San Antonio for Vassilis Spanoulis, the Greek guard had grown so disenchanted with the NBA that he was willing to forgo the $4 million he was due to be paid. Olympiacos' rival, Panathinaikos, ended up paying the Spurs an undisclosed sum to secure Spanoulis' release. Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com.
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