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Marbury bought out; source says he will join Celtics

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff  February 24, 2009 10:45 PM

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LOS ANGELES — Not long after getting Mikki Moore signed today, the Celtics were able to begin envisioning what Stephon Marbury would look like in their uniform, too.

After several months of being embroiled in a soap opera, the Knicks worked out a buyout of Marbury’s $21 million contract today. Two NBA sources said that once the two-time All-Star clears waivers — which is expected to be Friday morning — he will sign with the Celtics for a prorated $1.3 million minimum contract for the rest of the season.

The Celtics also filled their need for a veteran big man by signing Moore for the rest of the season to undisclosed financial terms.

‘‘I’m blessed to be able to move on with my career,’’ said Marbury via e-mail. ‘‘I’m excited about the new beginning.’’

Marbury and the Knicks also resolved the grievance he had filed against the team over the $400,000 he had been docked for allegedly refusing to play in a game in November. The sides attended an arbitration hearing today, and terms of the settlement were not announced.

Marbury, 32, averaged 13.9 points and 4.7 assists in 24 games for the Knicks last season, but he hasn’t played in a regular-season game since Jan. 11, 2008. He needed surgery for bone spurs that ended his 2007-08 season, and with the arrival of president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni during the offseason, the Knicks wanted to move on from the Marbury era and start fresh.

The Celtics became intrigued with Marbury in the preseason when he averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 assists and went to the line regularly in seven games. He scored 16 points against Boston in an Oct. 21 game, but last played in a preseason game against New Jersey on Oct. 24. He was suspended by the Knicks shortly thereafter.

The Celtics declined comment on Marbury, but team president Danny Ainge did say he planned on signing a combo-guard or wing player for his final open roster spot. Marbury played with Celtics All-Star forward Kevin Garnett in Minnesota.

‘‘We’re looking to get a guard,’’ Ainge said prior to the announcement of Marbury’s buyout. ‘‘There is no one that we are checking on right now. But we can turn our attention to that now.’’

In Boston, the 6-foot-2-inch Marbury would be expected to come off the bench, joining Eddie House as the reserve backcourt. He likely would defend the bigger guards and do most of the ball-handling to lessen the pressure on House. If he signs Friday, he could be in uniform against Indiana that night.

In the 33-year-old Moore, the Celtics landed the veteran big man with length they sorely needed. The 7-foot, 225-pounder cleared waivers in the morning and joined the Celtics in Los Angeles today. He had dinner with coach Doc Rivers and is expected to play against the Clippers.

‘‘The timing couldn’t be better,’’ Rivers said. ‘‘We have Scal [Brian Scalabrine] and Kevin out.’’
Moore, who was waived by Sacramento last Thursday, averaged 3.5 points and 3 rebounds in 16.2 minutes in 46 games this season. He played in three games for the Celtics on a 10-day contract in the 2002-03 season.

Moore will wear No. 7 with the Celtics.

‘‘He just provides some energy, some length,’’ Ainge said. ‘‘He has really good hands. He’s played well in the playoffs in the past, even if it’s just 15 games.

‘‘He was very excited to come to Boston. He was recruited by every contending playoff team. He really wanted to come.’’

Scalabrine, meanwhile, will miss tomorrow night’s game, as he was sent back to Boston to be examined for a cervical strain he suffered during Monday’s victory at Denver.

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