The Celtics are a potential landing spot for Stephon Marbury should the Knicks eventually grant the troubled point guard his release, unnamed sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
There are still several hoops to jump through, the most obvious being Marbury's release from the Knicks. The sides have failed to reach an agreement after weeks of "fruitless and oft-contentious buyout talks," Stein wrote. Marbury, who is on the books for $20.8 million this season, has not played a single game for New York this year.
How likely it that Marbury will eventually join the Celtics as a backup to Rajon Rondo? Even if the Knicks buy out Marbury, which might not happen for several months if at all, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce would all likely have to agree that it's the right thing to do.
But if all of this happens, the Celtics and Marbury seem to each be interested in making it happen. Unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation told Stein that Boston is Marbury's preferred destination and the Celtics hope to sign him. When asked specifically about the likelihood of Marbury joining the Celtics this season, a team source predicted to Stein that "it will happen." Ainge did not comment to Stein on the situation, and has not commented on Marbury in general.
Should Marbury be granted his release, the other potential obstacle appears to be Marbury's reputation as a less-than-ideal teammate. Marbury asked out of Minnesota in 1999 when he was teammates with Kevin Garnett.
"We're not close at all, not really as close as we used to be," Garnett told the Globe's Marc Spears in early December of his relationship with Marbury. "I haven't really been following [the Marbury situation]. I watch it here and there when I go through the locker room when it's on TV. I hear about it. It's unfortunate. But I haven't been following it or had an assessment of it."
A Celtics source told Stein that Garnett "has voiced no opposition" to the team bringing in Marbury, though that isn't necessarily an endorsement, either.