Marbury Heats Up!
Point guard says he'll be back in NY next year and will play his way
BY GREG LOGAN
Newsday Staff Correspondent
April 14, 2006
CLEVELAND -- If it was Stephon Marbury's intention to call Larry Brown's bluff yesterday, he did a good job of it. The Knicks' point guard said he's not going to play Brown's way next season, and he has no plans to hit the highway out of New York.
It would seem something has to give in this supreme test of wills, but Marbury made it clear he's not backing down. In fact, he indicated his comments at yesterday morning's shootaround were just an appetizer for what is to come when the Knicks clean out their lockers on Thursday after their final game.
Marbury told the public relations staff to have a podium in place that day .because he's going to unload.
"Don't worry," Marbury said, "I'll answer all your questions."
Sounding as if he's ready to blame the Knicks' failed season squarely on Brown, Marbury added, "If things would have been in place the way they were supposed to, I don't think we would have been in this situation. But that just didn't happen. So, stay tuned. You'll hear it."
Asked if he has any regrets about this season, Marbury called it "the best year of my life." Through his trials and tribulations with Brown, Marbury said he made a leap forward to a point where he's comfortable with himself as a player and is willing to offer his version of the truth no matter how the chips may fall. He said he began this season "100 percent committed to do whatever wanted me to do. It didn't work, so, I'm going to play like I normally play.
"There have been people who played for a coach who didn't see things the same way, and it worked out. I don't see why it can't work out. But like I said: I played like Stephon Marbury this year. Next year, I'm going to play like 'Starbury.'"
Told that Brown said he'd like Marbury to play as well as he did before he suffered a shoulder injury on Jan. 16 that put him out for an extended period, Marbury replied emphatically, "Oh, he doesn't have to worry. I'm going to do everything that I did before he came here."
When it was suggested Brown might not want to hear that, Marbury said, "I don't care what he wants to hear. I'm telling you what I'm going to do."
Marbury sat out his seventh straight game with a strained left patella tendon last night as the Knicks lost, 91-87, to the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
With 3:06 left in the third quarter, Brown took ill and went to the locker room for the rest of the game. Knicks officials said it was nothing serious. The Cavaliers (48-31) overcame a 13-point deficit with the help of an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter. Larry Hughes led the Cavs with 26 points, and Nate Robinson had 32 points and Jamaal Crawford had 19 points and nine assists for the Knicks (22-56).
Brown did predict that the Knicks will win games next season if Marbury plays as well as he did during their six-game winning streak in January.
The coach indicated Marbury might not be the point guard next season and said his preparation over the summer should have more to do with attitude than basketball. "I think he's got to make up his mind to continue to improve," Brown said. "That's what all good players do. We've got to make our teammates better . . . I'm confident he'll understand that. But it can't be on one guy. We have a lot of guys that have got to step up. But believe me, this isn't going to be the same team."
Earlier this week, Brown said he has the support of owner James Dolan and team president Isiah Thomas to make whatever changes are necessary this summer. Some assume that includes an effort to trade Marbury, although he has three years worth $60 million left on his contract.
But Marbury, who has a close bond with Thomas, said he's not worried about being traded. "I'm going to be back in New York," Marbury said. "I'm not going anywhere, I don't think. Not as far as I know. I don't see why I would be anyplace else other than New York."
Marbury spoke with such conviction that it sounded as if he might know something Brown doesn't. Like the man said, stay tuned.