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News » BUCKS 104, KNICKS 87


MILWAUKEE - Just when it looks as if the Stephon Marbury saga can't get any crazier, it took another bizarre turn Friday.

Thanks to two trades made earlier in the day, the Knicks were down to only eight players, meaning Marbury had to be in uniform to meet an NBA -mandated rule. Marbury could have played, but he turned down coach Mike D'Antoni's offer to use him for 30 to 35 minutes in what turned out to be a 104-87 loss to the Bucks.

"Obviously, at the start of the season, I told him the direction we were going and I didn't have minutes for him and I do not want to embarrass him by spot minutes," D'Antoni said. "We talked about it and it was both our decision that he goes on the inactive. Instead of playing spot minutes, he wanted to go on the inactive and I agreed with him.

"So when the trade went down this afternoon, I said to him, 'Look, Steph. One of the principals are gone, Jamal Crawford. There's 30, 35 minutes out there and they're yours if you want them and are ready to go. He said the direction of the team went in a different direction, he wasn't comfortable in the situation and he did not want to play. So at that point, I said that's fine and that's your decision."

Asked if he thought Marbury's actions could be viewed as insubordination, D'Antoni said: "Nah, nah. I think he was in a tough situation. I'm not mad at all at Steph and I understand Steph and that's fine. But that's enough of the talk and the story because it is a distraction and we need to go forward. We've got a new team coming in starting tomorrow and then Tuesday and we're going to get this done. We're going to get into the playoffs and we're going to have a good team and Knicks fans are really going to be happy the next three years."

Marbury didn't have much to say regarding the situation, but his explanation for why he didn't play didn't coincide with what D'Antoni told reporters minutes earlier.

"The only thing I'm at liberty to say is that I was told that they were moving forward," Marbury said, "and I'm not the person who chooses to play and who doesn't. That's the only thing that I'm able to say."

Asked if he will be on the active roster for Saturday night's game against the Wizards and in position to play, he said: "I was told that they were moving in another direction and that I wasn't in the plans."

But that was a while ago, wasn't it? Said Marbury: "I was told that today, too."

And with that, he stormed out of the locker room with his suitcase.

Newsday has learned that in a meeting last week at the MSG Training Center, Marbury backed off his demand to collect "every penny" of his $21.9-million salary this season. With a representative from the NBA Players Association by his side, Marbury told Walsh he would accept $1 million less than his salary as a buyout. Walsh rejected the offer.

It is believed that the Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - would prefer to come to a settlement closer to $15 million, though Walsh has said he has not considered an exact number. Any buyout would have to be approved by Garden chairman James Dolan.

The sides are expected to meet again soon, but Walsh would prefer to stay patient and hope to find a trade partner. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Knicks have made "a standing offer" to the Heat that would involve sending Marbury for forward Shawn Marion, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $17.1 million this season. Marion was an all-star for D'Antoni in Phoenix. But the Heat, which has a need at point guard, has declined.

The rest of the players seemed unfazed by the latest spectacle revolving around the Knicks' $21.9-million lightning rod. When D'Antoni's comments were relayed to Quentin Richardson, he said he didn't know Marbury didn't want to play and didn't have much of an opinion on the matter.

"Steph's a grown man," Chris Duhon said. "If he doesn't want to play, he doesn't want to play. It doesn't bother me at all. I was satisfied going to war with the seven guys we had."

Staff writer Alan Hahn contributed to this story.


Wizards at Knicks

7:30 p.m.


Radio: WEPN (1050)

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 22, 2008


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