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NBA notebook

Marbury ready to run

Guard, Knicks unsure of his role

STEPHON MARBURY'Blamed for losses' STEPHON MARBURY'Blamed for losses'
Associated Press / September 30, 2008
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Stephon Marbury doesn't care. He says the New York Knicks can get rid of him.

In remarks filled with contradictions and accusations yesterday, 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 today 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 basketball-wise, I'm ready," said Marbury, limited to 24 games last season. "So it doesn't matter to me. As long as I'm playing basketball, that's the most important thing."

Howard: I'm sorry

Mavericks forward Josh Howard took a first step toward repairing his damaged reputation, saying he was sorry for disrespecting the national anthem.

"I'd like to say that I'm truly and really am sorry for everything that's happened in the last five months," Howard said in a statement before taking questions from reporters on the first day of Mavericks training camp. "This is not the way I carry myself, not how I want to be portrayed. I'm sorry to everybody I've offended. I'm upset with myself and the way I've acted."

In a video posted recently on YouTube, Howard was shown at a charity flag football game. As the national anthem plays in the background, Howard approaches a camera and said: " 'The Star Spangled Banner' is going on right now. I don't even celebrate that [expletive]. I'm black."

"It was me joking around," he said.

McGrady still ailing

Rockets star Tracy McGrady said his left shoulder is arthritic and will require surgery after this season. He also said at the team's media day that his left knee is still bothering him after surgery in May . . . Timberwolves forward Al Jefferson said he's "feeling wonderful" just a couple weeks after spraining his right knee during a workout with teammates. Jefferson said he plans to do plenty of running and some light work when the team gathers for training camp today . . . General manager Randy Pfund, who helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA championship as the highlight of his 13 years with the franchise, resigned.

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