Stephon Marbury Can't Be a Distraction if You Ignore Him

The Knicks flipped the calender to 2010 on Friday when they traded Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph to clear cap space, but it still looked just like 2008 on Saturday morning. Every story was about Stephon Marbury either refusing Mike D'Antoni's request for minutes or just telling him that he thought he was out of the team's plans, depending on who you believe. Even when the Knicks make moves for a brighter, Starbury-less future, his very presence guarantees that he's the center of attention.

It has to end. The Knicks can choose to make an issue of Marbury's refusal to play and try to initiate a contract action against him if they chose. It's an appealing way to punish a player whose on-court struggles and off-court behavior have embarassed the team time and again. That doesn't make it the right route, however.

When D'Antoni retold the story of Friday night's conversation to reporters, he referred to Marbury as a "distraction." Going the legal route will only make certain that he remains in the center of the swirl for as long as it takes for the case to be decided. The better option is just to tell him to stop showing up to sit on the bench in street clothes. Tell him he needn't darken the doorways of the team ever again while continuing to work toward a buyout behind the scenes.

It may never happen and that's just tough luck. Marbury didn't give himself that ridiculous contract nor did he choose to trade for him so he's got no reason to give up one dollar that he's got coming to him. The only thing you can do is make him irrelevant. Don't talk about him, don't badmouth him or even respond to mentions of his name. Stick him in a corner, far away from the court and just neglect him. He's got nothing to do with the present or the future of this team, so there's no reason to act like he's a part of it.

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