|Marbury ready to play, and he doesn't care where|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 29 September 2008 10:29|
In remarks filled with contradictions and accusations Monday, the point guard stressed that the team's problems last year went well beyond him.
``I was being blamed for losses and I wasn't even playing,'' Marbury said.
The Knicks didn't win with him, and they couldn't win without him. As they prepare to open their first training camp under Mike D'Antoni on Tuesday in Saratoga Springs, it's still not clear which way they'll try to do it this season.
And that's fine with Marbury, who is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $21 million.
``It doesn't matter whatever they do, because basketballwise, I'm ready,'' he said. ``So it doesn't matter to me. As long as I'm playing basketball, that's the most important thing.
y have plans to do something differently, that's OK. I understand that it's a business and I'm not taking it personally at all.''
Marbury was limited to 24 games last season, the worst of his career. He missed games for a variety of reasons, from a dispute with former coach Isiah Thomas to his father's death, before shutting it down for the season in January following ankle surgery.
He's fully recovered now and has slimmed down, honoring new president Donnie Walsh's mandate to get in the best shape possible. That still might not be good enough to earn him another season in New York.
Though Walsh has never publicly said so, it's been speculated since his arrival in April that he would waive or trade Marbury before the season. He doesn't have a better option at point guard, but with Marbury having alienated teammates and his hometown fans with his behavior over the last few seasons, the popular belief was that the Knicks would be better off without him.
Marbury couldn't point to anything he would change about last season and didn't even acknowledge a fallout with Thomas - though he blew off an early-season game after a disagreement over his role. But Marbury seems to recognize the damage he's done to his reputation.
e way people think.''
Walsh signed Chris Duhon over the summer, and he's the favorite to start at point guard if Marbury is moved. Duhon said he's prepared to fight for his spot, even if many think it's going to be handed to him.
``I came here to compete for a starting job, the opportunity to change an organization around back to where it should be as far as winning, and that's all my main focus is,'' Duhon said. ``I've never been the guy that wanted things given to me, so I always wanted to go out and prove my worth and that I should be a guy that plays significant minutes. So that's what I'm going to do.''
Marbury has the same plan. After repeatedly saying he didn't care if he left, he later said he wanted to win a championship in New York - even if it was after this year. Walsh and D'Antoni have both said he'll be given a chance in camp, not wanting to judge any players without seeing them in D'Antoni's system.
Still confident at 31 that he can play at the level that earned him two All-Star berths, Marbury expects to quiet his critics - in New York or elsewhere.
``I'm going to play basketball and I'm going to play at a high level,'' Marbury said. ``So it doesn't matter to me. As long as I get on the court and once I get my opportunity, that's it. Watch me play this year.''