(Long Island, NY) It comes as no surprise that the feud has taken center stage in this dismal Knicks season. Head Coach Larry Brown and Point Guard Stephon Marbury have taken it to the next level. Showdown at high noon. Which one ends up on Boot Hill is all that remains.
Basketball people everywhere questioned the marriage when General Manager Isiah Thomas hired Larry Brown. Marbury was the focal point of the Knicks and definitely not a Larry Brown-type player. Especially with their problems at the Athens Summer Olympic Games. Brown wanted to send Marbury home a week before the tournament started. That was not a good sign.
The two played that down after they were together again in New York. But it was a divorce waiting to happen. These two were as bad a couple as Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley.
Marbury and Brown have been trading barbs in the media back and forth on a regular basis recently. If the season wasn’t such a disaster already, it would be a major distraction.
Now the Knicks must decide how to rectify this problem. They cannot have the two combatants together next season. It would be a good guess to say trade Marbury, especially with Steve Francis already on the roster and eating a big part of the salary cap up. But what team would be willing to take Steph, his contract, and all the extra baggage he carries? Three years and $60 million dollars to go on that albatross of a contract. There are not too many General Managers out there gullible enough to accept that back in a trade without getting rid of their own team-cancer. And what good would that do the Knicks? There would be no cap relief and they would be getting another sour-puss in return.
The Knicks can also buy his contract out. But they would be getting hit on the salary cap, anyway. For years to come, no less. The only positive would be the addition by subtraction scenario.
It is unfortunate that a player with the talent such as Marbury has had a bumpy road. Popular belief was that he should have stayed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as the quarterback for an offense built around Kevin Garnett. Both of their careers may have turned out differently. Possibly even an NBA championship. But Marbury forced his way to New Jersey after Garnett signed a long term deal with the T’Wolves. There would not have been enough money under the cap for two max deals. This was Marbury’s first mistake- believing that he was in the same category as Garnett.
Whatever happens in the off season, Brown and Marbury are stuck with each other for the time being. Maybe they can paint a long white dividing line like Herman and Grandpa Munster did. The remaining games for this season will be interesting only to see who has the better quote in the newspaper the day following another Knicks loss.