NBA: Marbury & Curry Saga Continues
By: Steve Kyler
The Unhappy Campers: It's the first week of the NBA season and already there is discord among those that did not find a
role on their teams or are not happy with how they will be used. Here
are the guys looking for the door, and what's most likely to happen
Stephon Marbury: It seems painfully obvious that the Knicks have got to move Stephon Marbury, but at $20.8 million its almost impossible to move that kind of deal until someone decides to blow up their team. The Knicks are not going to take on bad or long-term contracts so finding the deal that lines up with their goals is going to be tough. For Marbury he worked his tail off this summer to get into what everyone is calling "the best shape of his life" which will help the Knicks cause because a team acquiring him would get a player ready to play. Because of the complexity of pulling off a deal of this size, Stephon is likely going to be a Knick for the foreseeable future, but whether he'll be a Knick past the trade deadline seems difficult to envision. As long as Steph plays happy camper he'll be permitted to stay with the team, but if he strays from the company line too far do not be surprised to see the Knicks send him home, in much the same manner the Pacers have done with the unmovable Jamaal Tinsley.Welcome To New York Mike: The day after the most entertaining win in recent memory, New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni got a taste of the New York media. Reporters badgered him at Knicks practice about a moment in the 120-115 win over the HEAT in which MSG Network cameras caught Mike responding to the crowd. The crowd at the 11 minute mark of the fourth quarter started chanting "We Want Steph" referring to the benched Stephon Marbury. The consensus on Mike's "lip read" response was: "You've got to be (bleeping) kidding me. You've got to be (bleeping) kidding me. What a bunch of (bleep) holes." D'Antoni for his part denies that he was directing comment to the fans, saying he had far too much respect for the fans, indirectly indicating that maybe the commentary was directed towards the officials who had just whistled Mardy Collins for a foul. Hey Mike, welcome to the largest fish bowl on the planet… imagine how relentless they will be if you lose a game?
Eddy Curry: Eddy Curry has joined Stephon in the "Mike Won't Use Me" club. Eddy's issue is more about conditioning than any other element. It's believed if Eddy can work himself into game shape, D'Antoni would consider giving him some time. That has not stopped teams from calling looking for what it would take to nab Curry. Mind you, Curry is not going to return a meaningful chip for the Knicks, but his $9.7 million is a far easier deal to trade, and there have been some rumors about the Warriors and Knicks talking swap. The Miami HEAT were also rumored to have interest in Curry, although his remaining three years and $30 plus million do not seem to line up with Miami's goals for cap space in 2009 or 2010. But for the sake of argument Mark Blount for Eddy Curry works under the cap.
Al Harrington: Al Harrington put himself on the market and word is at least four teams have presented the Warriors with trade options, and none of them seem to be blowing up the skirts of Warriors. No one near the team will say who the interested parties may be, but it's believed the Knicks and Warriors have at least talked about a Harrington for Curry swap. The Warriors are not going to spend a lot of time talking about Al's trade demands, but it is believed the Warriors will only act if it's a good deal for them, and Al has pledged to be a good soldier until a deal can be made.
Sean Williams: Nets center Sean Williams has found himself on the outside of the rotation looking in, which is surprising because of how much Nets coach Lawrence Frank likes him. That said Sean says he is content to bide his time and will keep working. The Nets recently picked up Sean's contract option giving them time to decide what to do with Sean, but young energetic front court players are hard to find, and Williams could be an interesting chip for the Nets to cash. The word on Williams is everyone sees the kid's talent, but wonder how committed and focused on winning he really is. With rookie Brook Lopez pegged as the future franchise center, Williams seems to be the odd man out and it also seems he's not doing much to make a case for himself.
Javaris Crittenton: The Grizzlies host the Orlando Magic tonight in Memphis and all eyes will be on Javaris Crittenton. JCritt got a DNP-Coaches Decision on Wednesday versus the Rockets and if he does not get time tonight, it's clear he's not going to get a shot with the Grizz. Crittenton knows he can play at this level; he simply wants a chance to prove it. He came into Grizzlies training camp ready to do that, but higher profile players are stacked in front of him. The Grizzlies coaching staff views him as a shooting guard, as a result he is third or fourth on the depth chart depending on how the Grizz line up. Grizz sources say they would move JCritt for the right deal, but they are not moving him just to move him.
How Does Joe Do It?: The Detroit Pistons are putting the finishing touches on a four-year deal with forward Jason Maxiell that will keep Jason in Detroit through 2013. The terms of the deal are roughly $20 million, with a player option fourth year. You got to hand it to Pistons' president Joe Dumars – he again gets another deal done at bargain prices. Maxiell is certainly not an elite level guy in the NBA, but $5 million per season? That's chump change by NBA standards for what Maxiell brings to the table. Look at Maxiell's numbers – he averaged better than 7 points and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes of game play last season, which earned him $5 million per season. Maxiell's agent Richard Katz told the Detroit News, "This is good news for Jason. He loves the city and he loves the people. Could he have maybe made more money somewhere else? Yes. But this wasn't about money for Jason. He wanted to remain a Piston… Jason just felt at the end of the day that this is what he wanted. He is comfortable here. He wanted to stay and the Pistons were very amendable to keeping him here. It just came together." Joe Dumars again proves he is one of the best in the business at getting deals done on the cheap.