While Celtics fans are at least intrigued by the apparently inevitable arrival of talented, enigmatic guard Stephon Marbury, the consensus regarding his departure in New York -- where he spent six controversial seasons with his hometown Knicks without winning a single playoff game -- is pretty much this:
Thanks for nothing, Starbury. Don't let the door hit your tattooed skull on the way out.
Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News captures the "good riddance" tone of the day in a piece titled "Unlike On Court, Marbury Departs With An Assist," writing:
Marbury brought only shame, embarrassment and controversy to his hometown team. He liked to talk about his legacy and it can be summed up in a couple of words.
So he's out now. One day he'll come back to the Garden, wearing the Celtics' green, or some other team's uniform and try to explain how he was misunderstood in New York and how things just never worked out the way he wanted. But anyone who followed his career here knows the real story.
It's just unfortunate that the Knicks didn't send Marbury packing with Isiah Thomas. They deserved to hit the curb at the same time, for all they didn't do in their time at the Garden and for all the trouble they caused when they ran one of the biggest teams in their sport. Ran it into the ground.
Meanwhile, Newsday's Jim Baumbach detects a pattern in Marbury's career and figures the Knicks will be only the latest former team of his to improve after letting him go.
The Knicks didn't know it at the time, but the best thing they ever did in terms of their rebuilding happened Jan. 6, 2004. By acquiring Stephon Marbury that day from the Suns, the Knicks basically screamed to the basketball world that, yes, we really do have a legitimate plan to one day become a competitive franchise again.
Here was the plan's proven checklist for success:
1. Acquire Marbury.
2. Withstand a few awful years.
3. Find a way to get rid of him.
4. Bask in success that's sure to follow.
Might as well call it the Post-Marbury Success Plan, because it's proved to be as legitimate a rebuilding strategy as there is in the NBA.
Of all of the New York reports today, only Post columnist Mike Vaccaro offers a tone of wistfulness or what-might-have-been about Marbury's time in New York, and notes that this is his last opportunity to live up the great promise of his youth:
Now he gets another chance. He gets to hook up with the Celtics, which is expected within days, and attach his fading star to their ascendant firmament. He gets to silence all those "cooler" jokes forever, gets a real chance to prove that he can be a helpful component for a championship club.
The part of you that loves the Knicks and therefore loathes the Celtics can bemoan this new shotgun marriage. But the part of you that has always wanted Marbury to become what we always believed he could be has to be rooting, however silently, for this to turn out well, a proper New York ending for a classic New York point guard.
The Post offers the most comprehensive story of Marbury coming to buyout terms with the Knicks yesterday -- and declaring on the way out of a law office, "I'm happy!" -- while the Daily News offers an entertaining (and perhaps alarming) list of his transgressions with the Knicks.
Starbury update, 1:34 p.m. In a blog post by the Post's Berman this afternoon following the Knicks' shootaround, coach Mike D'Antoni concedes that Marbury will end up in Boston. And while the guard may get a championship ring here, he's certainly not getting a ringing endorsement from his former coach:
"I don't know,'' D'Antoni said when asked if he thinks Marbury will help the Celtics. "I'm sure (he's) a very talented basketball player. If he fits in, he'll help.''
For his part, forward David Lee said the Knicks moved on from Marbury awhile ago.
"He hasn't been with the team for a little while,'' David Lee said. "It's been a dead issue for us. We're all happy it's over with. Both sides are happy. I think the team is headed in the right direction now. We can move forward and we can worry about trying to make the playoffs.''
Asked if he'd like to see Marbury in the first round, Lee said, ""I'd love to see him in the playoffs. That means we made it.''