Tomorrow the chief players in the epic tragicomedy that are The Chronicles of Stephon Marbury will be convening to attend an arbitration hearing; at stake in the meeting is a $400,000 fine issued to Marbury the game following the Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph deals. If you flashback to December the Knicks were shorthanded because of the trades, D'Antoni offered Marbury the rock after refusing to show him the light of Madison Square Garden all season, Marbury decided to be selfish and leave his teammates out in the wind. The Knicks eventually fined him for refusing to play. But if he wasn't RIP already, on that day Marbury definitely ceased to exist in the hearts and minds of both his teammates and fans. Since then Stephon's presence could be likened to a ghost who occasionally causes a ruckus and reminds you the Knicks house is still haunted while his contract remains on New York's books.
As such, the $400 grand is just the small-stakes appetizer for the much bigger opportunity to finally set in motion the buyout deal that can officially sever the dysfunctional marriage between the New York Knicks and Stephon. Since D'Antoni made it clear he would not play Marbury at the start of the season, this has been a long-running question mark hovering over the team: Marbury has expressed his desire to be let go, but won't pay any more than one million of his twenty-two million dollar contract for his freedom. Meanwhile Walsh has steadfastly refused to completely jettison the still functional point guard for nothing; the reasoning to this point being that Marbury's hefty expiring contract could theoretically facilitate a deal.
But now the trade deadline has passed, and no such deal has transpired, and there are no more opportunities for the Knicks to cash in their counterfeit Marbury money; there's little practical reason to keep his shadowy specter affiliated except for the longshot scenario where he resurrects his career on a competing playoff team and makes the organization look foolish. Even if that happens is it possible to make the organization look any more foolish than they would for keeping him around?
The Knicks have been a better, more entertaining team this year. In a season of much change from the fun-and-gun coach to new faces playing big roles, and familiar faces raising their level of play no move would do more for distancing this new regime from the old than pulling the plug and finally flushing the last remains of the Stephon Marbury era down the toilet. Whatever the cost.