Before the Celtics beat the Knicks on Tuesday night, Boston guard Sam Cassell shared his thoughts about the endless soap opera that is Stephon Marbury's 2008-09 NBA season.
"They really need to get that thing resolved," Cassell said. "It doesn't look good for both parties. Steph wants to play and he's better than the guys playing ahead of him. I don't understand it."
Cassell also said that the situation was bad for the league. Your own mileage may vary about how much Marbury not playing will hurt a league that survived the Pistons-Pacers brawl and Tim Donaghy, but it is certainly killing the Knicks. How can you be sure? Malik Rose was playing in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's game.
The Knicks desperately need help in the frontcourt. Teams are piling up points in the paint night after night and there's no one who can stop them until Jared Jeffries is back at full speed. Even then, the Knicks will need something better than the execrable Rose to help them make stops.
Every day Marbury is on the roster is another day when they won't have enough bodies to compete up front and another day that their chances of making anything out of this season become slimmer. The Knicks reportedly offered Marbury a $15 million buyout last week, but haven't continued the dialogue since then. That can't be the case. There's nothing more important for Donnie Walsh to work on these days than Marbury's removal and the addition of a forward that can actually help them.
There's no way they are going to reverse course and start playing him now. Mike D'Antoni's gone too far down the road and Marbury may not generate the outside interest he needs to accept less than full freight. It may be that the Knicks just need to swallow hard and forget the buyout. It can be the last hurrah of the previous regime's missteps, instead of a daily reminder of them in a suit on the bench.