|Suns players, coach confident Marion issue won't be a problem|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 01 October 2007 18:58|
And that could well be through the entire upcoming season.
``I still feel the same way,'' Marion said at the Suns media day on Monday.
He refused to explain the reasons for his unhappiness and tried to put the matter to rest.
``I don't want to be bothered by this no more,'' Marion said. ``What's done is done. It's happened. It has nothing to do with the team, the city or the fans.''
Last week, Marion telephoned two reporters to express his desire to be traded. He has spent his entire eight-year NBA career with the Suns, making the all-star team four times, including each of the last three seasons. But he had grown weary of reports that the team was trying to trade him.
He has indicated in the past that his importance to the Suns was not appreciated. He doesn't like being the third on the Suns' order of stars behind Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.
The most contentious issue, however, might be the team's apparent disinterest in extending Marion's contract. He is Phoenix's highest-paid player this season at $16.4 million and will earn $17.9 million for 2008-09 unless he decides to opt out of his contract.
Marion was talking about none of this on Monday. He would not say why he was so unhappy.
``There's a lot of stuff and details I'm not going to express,'' he said. ``It's easy for people to look at certain stuff, but at the end of the day nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors except me and that person that was in the conversation.''
Still, Marion was with his teammates on the bus to Tucson, where the Suns begin a six-day training camp Tuesday.
``I came to play ball,'' he said. ``I lace them up every night, and I'm going to continue to do that.''
Asked how important winning an NBA title was to him, Marion said, ``It's very important. At the same time, though, I think I've got other things to look forward to, too.''
General manager Steve Kerr and coach Mike D'Antoni downplayed the situation. Kerr recalled a similar time when he was a teammate of Scottie Pippen in Chicago.
``The last year we won a championship, at the beginning of training camp, we had a similar issue, a contract dispute,'' Kerr said. ``It didn't affect the players because we enjoyed playing together. It's business. Players put that aside. That's what we did in Chicago and if I remember correctly we won a championship that year.''
Kerr wouldn't answer when asked if he thought Marion would finish the season with the Suns.
``I'm not going to sit here and speculate on anything or talk about personnel issues,'' Kerr said. ``Those are things we talk about internally. That's not something I'm going to address at this point.''
D'Antoni said Marion is upset with the business side of the Suns, not the basketball side.
``I think he had to vent, and maybe he'll have to vent some other time down the road,'' the coach said, ``but for the most part he'll come in and play hard and try to win a championship.''
Nash said he wants to talk to Marion to ``understand where he's coming from and try to make it the best possible situation for him.''
He said it would be extremely difficult to find a player in a trade that would help the Suns as much as Marion does.
``He's such a tremendous player, such a great talent, does so many things that no one else can do,'' Nash said. ``It would be really difficult to replace him. ... There's just not a lot of players like him. It would be sad if he were to go.''