Friday, January 2, 2009

Shipping Up To Boston

Before the season began I was concerned that Stephon Marbury would end up playing for Miami. I had nightmarish visions of him pairing with Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion and the No. 1 pick from the previous draft to lead a resurgence in South Beach. I imagined him running the pick and roll with Udonis Haslem to perfection during a key game in late March as the Knicks and Heat battled for one of the last playoff spots in the East.

I wanted D'Antoni to give Steph a chance to play so that we wouldn't have to see that. I also wanted D'Antoni to give Steph a chance to play because I beleived (as I do now) that he was the best professional basketball player on the Knicks roster. Well, Steph never stepped on the floor for the Knicks. Yet, according to recent reports, I don't need to worry about him playing for the once and possibly future rivals in Miami. Which is a relief. Instead, I need to brace myself for Marbury winning an NBA title with the Boston Celtics.

As each day passes without a buyout, rumors about Marbury's eventual destination are going to multiply. Today he's heading to Boston. Tomorrow it might be San Antonio. The day after he might be heading to Dallas. Or Phoenix. The Knicks created this situation by benching/alienating/exiling a healthy player with a All-Star talent. The worst thing that can happen is for Donnie Walsh and Jimmy Dolan to get cheap and spiteful right now. We can't be concerned with where Marbury ends up. Do I want to see him win a title in Boston? Nope. But that's just because I wanted to see him win a title at the Garden and not because I hold any ill will towards him.

Aside from the fact that there is really no reason for Walsh to want to wrong Marbury, the team needs his roster spot. Badly. And, the fate of the Celtics has little to do with the Knicks right now. These two teams are not competing for the same things. If Marbury ends up lowering his shoulder and barrelling to the rim in the waning moments of Game 7 of the NBA Finals and dropping in the clinching bucket then so be it. Walsh and D'Antoni didn't want him here. But they've got to realize that decision was based in their ideas about the direction of the team and not in any lack of ability our health on the part of the player. They need to cut him. And, let him go whichever way the wind blows. It may help the Celtics (and Marbury) down the road but it will definitely help the Knicks immediately. That has to be the main concern.

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