By the time I got home from Denver this afternoon, my e-mail inbox already had several queries about Stephon Marbury with the news of his sudden and bizzare departure from the New York Knicks. Then things kicked up a notch when one of my close friends in the business, ESPN's Chris Sheridan, wrote a column where he listed the Cavs as Marbury's potential No. 1 trade destination as part of a sign-and-trade package for Anderson Varejao. Thanks for the extra work, Chris.
So let's deal with it. Based on my conversations with Cavs people now and over the years, I would doubt they would look to bring Marbury in via trade or even after a buyout. His history of dragging teams down is well documented as the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, and Phoenix Suns all got much better quickly. He's played on losing teams his whole career, which can't be a coincidence. That's a well-worn tale. He has had problems co-existing with other stars in the past.
A bigger issue whenever considering Marbury, though, is that he has an ongoing and mostly one-sided fued with LeBron James. I broke it all down in this blog post from the summer. Right there should be the end of the conversation. But to go further, Marbury is not the type of character player the Cavs front office values and it starts with the news about him sleeping with a Knick intern that was made public over the summer.
All the fans sending me e-mails and Sheridan's story about a trade for Marbury giving the Cavs a load of cap room in 2009 do have merit. Here's what you need to understand as a side point here. The Cavs don't want cap room. They want expiring contracts that they can trade so they can target a player or two, not bid and overpay for whatever free agent is available. This is how most major transactions are getting done in the NBA these days. So Marbury would actually have value to the Cavs before the summer of 2009, he'd have value a massive expiring deal next year. It would also allow them to move some unwanted contracts now instead of later. Everybody knows the Knicks love bad contracts.
For that reason, I will label a Marbury move has "highly unlikely" but not "impossible." It's one of those never say never situations. But don't spend a great deal of time thinking about it.
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