If the Knicks already know they don't want him, Stephon Marbury wants to be released -- just so long as they know he's not going up a dime of his $21.9 million. But if the Knicks decide to keep them, Marbury is ready to play -- just so long as they know he's not giving up his starting job, either. From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
"We need to concentrate on how we're going to win, not whether I'm getting waived or if I'm getting all my money," Marbury said. [...] "If D'Antoni feels he needs to go in another direction with a starting point guard (Chris Duhon), that's fine. I know I'm going to play someplace else.
[...] Would he be willing to be a backup? "I'm not coming off the bench here in New York," Marbury said.
So let me get this straight: Marbury doesn't want to be a distraction but won't come off the bench. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways: if you don't want to distract, don't speak in absolutes about your role.
(That said, we are talking Chris freaking Duhon. For all of Marbury's faults, if the Knicks are serious about putting the most talent on the floor, there's no way Duhon should start. But I digress ...)
Ken Berger of Newsday spoke with a person familiar with D'Antoni who doesn't think D'Antoni can be bullied:
"Mike plays the guys that he feels will give him the best chance to win," the person said. "You ultimately have to run your own show and how it's best going to serve the team. That's your only real option at that point."
The Suns were notorious for their short bench under D'Antoni, so the idea he might decide on a set rotation and put blinders on in regards to any other distraction definitely seems feasible.
But if it comes to that, I have to imagine Donnie Walsh and James Dolan will simply pull the trigger and let Marbury go -- this team is in need of a public relations makeover, and the last image anyone wants to see if Marbury sitting at the end of the bench with a scowl, regardless whether he's making waves in the locker room.