Ankle Saves Face?

The Post, along with other outlets, is reporting that Stephon Marbury is “a lock” to have surgery on a chronically fracutred bone spur in his ankle. Although MRI results were not available at the time of writing, prior X-Rays have revealed the fracture.

The surgery is quite likely to end Marbury’s season. If the condition is both chronic and repetitive stress-induced it is possible, maybe even probable, that Marbury walks away from the game altogether; not unlike Allan Houston.

In an odd sense, should Marbury undergo season-ending surgery, it may prove a face-saving blessing in disguise for him personally. With all hope of any sort of glorious return to his hometown team pretty well dashed, perhaps the best thing for Marbury (and the team) is for him to finish his Knick career quietly.

For the team, at present the Bizarro Knicks have played well. But, let’s not blister our palms patting them on the back just yet. As one reader points out, even Larry Brown’s Knicks managed to win six in a row. Nevertheless, the recent play of Nate Robinson has been heartening–particularly the appearance of the improved passing we saw in the summer league. (As a team the turnovers during this stretch have been low as KB pointed out in an earlier post.) Crawford has also managed to string together a couple very efficient shooting nights as well. Should Marbury leave the rotation for good, the immediate concern is PG depth. Crawford is already playing just under 41 mpg (tied for 2nd in the NBA). Without Marbury, either Robinson or Crawford will need to be on the floor at all times. (Otherwise Thomas will need to depend on Mardy Collins to contribute.)

Presumably, they’ll cross this bridge when they come it, but long term the Knicks will need to determine what to do with Marbury. Keep him on the bench next season? Attempt to move his contract? Attempt to buy him out and keep his contract in order to remove it from the cap next after season?

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Part-time blogger on the Knicks at and Seahawks at In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.

44 thoughts to “Ankle Saves Face?”

  1. Nate Robinson 3.875 to 1 Assist/Turnover in January.

    Jamal Crawford .614 TS% in January.

    What is going on here?

  2. did you hear that isiah turned down a trade for artest sending balkman and robinson? Looks like a smart trade now with marbury gone. the ESPN Sheridan report also said artest will sign the midlevel with the knicks next year.

  3. Their were a number of weird Crawford offers in that article too, that supposedly Glen Grunwald has been engineering and Isiah rejecting.

    Craw+James or Rose for Carter
    Craw+ for Hughes

    I’m not really excited by the prospect of Glen Grunwald “interim” GM.

  4. God, I really hope we don’t get “Half man, Half amazing” or “Half man, Half a season.” Selfish basketball must run in the family, and we already have way too much of it.

    As to our need for a backup PG, I’d prefer Mardy Collins not take over this role. Fred Jones is a competent enough ball handler and doesn’t turn it over quite as much.

  5. I am a St. John’s alum and cried when the Knicks passed on Artest. Even with all his baggage, I still would love to see him on the team as a small forward, instead of Q, for example. Q is 25% of the player he once was, which was a decent player. I think Artest would play his butt off for NY. I can see a line up with tiny Nate, Crawford (who is inconsistent, but shows leadership potential), Lee, Artest and some Center who can block shots, rebound and throw an outlet pass. Tiny Nate, Crawford, Artest and even Lee can run and finish. I have no patience for Centers who can’t rebound or play defense. It’s like a pg with no vision—sound familiar? Curry is a double whammy because he can’t draw anyone outside and can’t pass. Randolph has skills for sure, but doesn’t play well with others! How about trying Jeffries at Center. He will not score much and certainly will not draw out the defense. He will however rebound and play defense. Every night. He can also run and can actually finish. I think he will clean up the garbage from pure effort. A decent coach should be able to teach him a jump hook. The above referenced team would be offensively challenged, but I bet other teams would hate playing against them. They have heart. Anyone who plays pick up knows what I mean. Marbury will ride off into the sunset, with a scowl. Not by way of an apology, but he did play some great games for the Knicks, but was never nearly as good as his stats. Get rid of Curry and Randolph. Forget stats, this is hoop , not baseball. Get Artest, eat C & R’s contracts and stockpile a draft pick. Get a coach.

  6. Artest is crazy, but he is really good. For six million, that’s a bargain, even if he is only just short of a sociopath.

    Actually, I don’t know. Do I want Artest on the team? Tough one….

    Vishal – Did you calculate Crawford’s Ts% by hand, use a spreadsheet? Is there some handy way to look it up for a discrete amount of time, maybe using basketball reference or something?

  7. At this point I have far less interest in trades than in seeing who on this roster is a player going forward.

    I want to see what Nate Robinson and Balkman can become if given extensive minutes. I’d love to see Wilson Chandler and Randolph Morris get some burn to see what they can do.

    There’s no trade that fundamentally alters our course this year, at least not one that won’t be there this offseason. I could certainly see the Knicks making a deal for a 3rd guard who can run the point, given season-ending surgery for Marbury.

  8. Artest is a whack-job. Just like Marbury. This team doesnt need another self involved distraction. If anything bring in someone who can be a role model to the young guys. They sure arent getting it from Isaih, Marbury,or Zach.

  9. At least with Jamal Crawford being the focal point of the backcourt, there’s at least someone normal running being appointed for something. Maybe that will account for an improved win-loss total if not this year than in the future.

  10. What stuns me more about some of the trade proposals Grunwald supposedly set up is the way Sheridan was acting like Isiah was foolish to turn them down!

  11. I don’t like the Carter for Crawford one. Crawford is three years younger and Carter’s game for the most part appears passive when it comes to attacking the basket.

  12. The knicks won 6 straight under brown but I think people forget that Marburys shoulder injury is what derailed that.It wasnt that they stopped playing well they started losing players as Antonio Davis went into the stands for his wife in a game where the knicks had the Bulls on the ropes . Crawford hit the basket to put us ahead but Gordon hit the winner at the buzzer.

    Wow weve had the strangest three years in the history of the league.

    Crawford for Hughes rofl

  13. I’d have to say no to Artest, except he comes off the cap next year, right? I think Randolph for Artest and a draft pick could be something if that’s the case. Then we’d have 2 pretty good picks with which to find a Curry replacement and a point guard/ strong guard. I think a team that is close to making the playoffs would give up an expiring contract for Randolph. Washington could be interested. Maybe Cleveland or the Lakers. This is really the only move that makes sense right now.
    It’s nice not to have to consider Steph any more in all this, right?

  14. “just a thought: But wouldn’t Wallace for Zach Randolph make sense for two teams that are more or less due to make another deal with each other?”

    If Sheridan’s saying it, it could happen…

  15. On the Lakers-Suns game when they last cut it to Craig Sager, he relayed a story about how Barbosa got a phone call at his hotel saying he had been traded to the Knicks but obviously it was a hoax.

  16. you guys are taking that Sheridan piece too seriously, he’s one of their worst NBA guys and who knows which of those proposed deals have any basis in fact. Chad Ford is a far better journalist, if the rumors were coming from him, I’d take them much more seriously.

  17. “Artest is a whack-job. Just like Marbury. This team doesnt need another self involved distraction.”


  18. By the by, regarding the six game streak, if I recall correctly, wasn’t that also a case of Brown playing Lee a lot during the streak, and then severely cutting his minutes AFTER it?

  19. That was games three through eight of his 13 straight games as a starter.

    Game 1 triple OT vs. Phoenix 51 minutes
    Game 2 vs. Washington 21-point win, 24 minutes
    Game 3 vs. Seattle four-point win, 24 minutes
    Game 4 at Cleveland eight-point win, 10 minutes
    Game 5 vs. Dallas OT – 19 minutes
    Game 6 vs. Atlanta 11-point win, 34 minutes

    After that, he played 38 minutes against Toronto in a blowout loss and 37 minutes at Chicago. His starts ended January 21 vs. the Hornets. As a starter, he averaged 6.9 points, 7.4 rebounds in 26:06. The record when he started was 6-7. He played half a game (24 minutes) 17 times and they won five of those.

  20. “Attempt to buy him out and keep his contract in order to remove it from the cap next after season?”

    this is exaclty what we should do… i hope there is not going to be a trade where we grant cap relief to a team and in return swallow all their bad contracts. this one time we should benefit from that cap relief, the goal clearly needs to be 2010 when lebron becomes a free agent. cleveland apparently cannot surround him with enough talent to win it all, and its very likely he’ll want to play for a major market team then, and we’ll be happy to bring him in :)

  21. Don’t look now, but your hometown New York Knickerbockers have now won 3 games in a row and are only 6 games out of the playoffs! Woo hoo!!

    Who said the Knicks are the laughingstock of the NBA?

    I knew this would be the beginning of a truly magical season.

    Through his wisdom and guidance, Isiah will transform the Knicks from a team of underachieving malcontents to a TEAM that will win the hearts of New Yorkers everywhere.

    By the end of this season, even cold-hearted, cynical New Yorkers will feel a warm and fuzzy glow inside whenever they hear the words “NY Knicks” or “Isiah Thomas.”

    And dare we even dream the impossible dream … A Championship?

  22. Several things to be said on Artest:

    1. He’d be potentially a huge game changer defensively for the Knicks as a regular starter both on his own and as a tone-setter.

    2. I am far from convinced that Balkman couldn’t also be the same or near enough, at a much cheaper cost. I wouldn’t give up the one for the other, personally.

    3. Ron’s gotten himself quite a rep as a ball-hogging, play-breaking offensive black hole out in Cali; him, Randolph, Curry and Crawford would probably be impossible to accommodate on the court together, and none of those guys thinks of himself as a backup. Acquiring Ron (or Vince, or etc.) means yet another total roster reinvention. Going with Balkman doesn’t present this objection.

    4. Artest back in the New York environment could be really problematic.

    All the rumored Knicks deals are varying degrees of scary and none of them are going to “fix” the team; you can’t “fix” a bunch of parts lying in a heap. I’d much prefer to batten down and begin the process of riding this out for the next few years, and letting the Marbury deal run down is the first step on that, I think. The worst case scenario is that he keeps playing and spends all of next year glowering at the end of the bench, but…well, after this year, I think everyone’s just about used to that.

  23. artest is a wackjob. but he will provide a few things which the knicks need:

    -excellent defensive intensity
    -leadership in the lockerroom
    -better scoring at forward
    -cracking down on teammates that dont give 100% effort

    ny has an excellent history of taking on risky players during the 90’s that worked out well. classic example is sprewell. i think artest could potentially pan out if he stop hitting his wife and focuses on winning.

  24. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHY WE WOULD TRADE FOR VINCE CARTER OR LARRY HUGHES? implies that other GMs are annoyed that the Knicks won’t make these moves as if they are good deals for NY. Can someone tell me how in any way obtaining Hughes or Carter is good for this team.

  25. The reason why other GM’s are annoyed is because the Knicks are their punching bags. They’re too inept and other GM’s take advantage of that. The other reason is teams think they can fix the Knicks….they say “take my bad deals and I’ll take your so called problems” and they reinvent their teams. The Suns, Portland and Orlando seem to be doing pretty well once they dumped their problems on the Knicks….the problem with this is, we cannot reinvent like other GM’s…..

    With that said, the best play is to play with what we have, get Artest over the summer…he wants to play here, fine, we’ll talk over the summer….Vince Carter is not the answer…he’s old and is going to decline right before your eyes. Write Marbury off the books next year is the smart play. If you can get rid of Randolf for expiring contracts….pull the trigger. Q should ride the pine because he’s obviously not good anymore. He does look kinda out of shape.

    That’s it folks, we have to play with what we have and give balkman, lee, nate, chandler and morris a chance to see what they have.

  26. Rumors.Rumors. Rumors. So many rumors.If we can move Zach and get some draft picks then that would be perfect. There are a lot of strong point guards coming out of college this year. If we can take some money off the cap that would be great too. That would enable us to be players in the free agent market. What do we do with Marburys contract though? I say have some patience and just keep him or if someones is willing to take it on next year and give us a draft pick then id take that too. I doubt that would happen but who knows. Eddy wont ever play defense so I would move him too. The kid can score though so send him to a team that needs a low post threat. Ill take Wallace…or even Noah..Chicago doenst like him anayway. Then id like to see Chandler and Morris get some minutes. Those kids can play and you know that if you watched the summer league. Chandler can run the floor and shoot the 3. Morris rebounds and blocks shots and has some decent post up skills plus a jumper. We have to use morris before hes gone and his signing was basically a waste. Balkman is great. With mintues he can rebound and block shots. He still needs to find that jump shot. Q Rich is done…i dont really know what we can do with him. Then depending on our draft position get one of the stud point guards coming out…Rose…Gordon…Augustin..Mayo..and see what happens from there.

  27. Owen- per your question above, I calcualated it from his Yahoo game logs on Excel. I haven’t seen any place that provides splits for advanced stats like TS%

  28. Marbury out = Good
    Nate getting more minutes = good
    Crawford getting more chances to shoot = scary
    Balkman getting 30 minutes burn = good
    Lee getting 30 = good
    Q riding the pine = good

    Any trades, any at all = bad

    Let it ride, folks. Let’s develop these young players.

  29. Frank couldn’t have said it better — agree with your points 100% — no time to trade, let the kids get some burn. Crawford will shoot us into some games and out of others, but at this point, so what, we aren’t going anywhere…Balkman, Lee, Nate on the floor together, let ’em rip…

  30. The best THIS GROUP of youngsters will ever develop into is a low caliber playoff team. The whole point of the league is to build a championship team. If you have to blow things up, you have to blow things up.

  31. While the youngsters may not have more than a six to eight seed ceiling, that implies that one of them doesn’t get significantly better (probably not happening) and that they don’t draft anyone good to improve the mix over the next season or three. I would rather see what happens with Jamal, Jeffries and the last three draft classes. If they’re going to suck at least they are “our” players rather than someone else’s garbage (Zach, Ron-Ron, Steph et. al.). Additionally, there is something to be said for watching the defveolpment of young talent over the course of time.

  32. “Any trades, any at all = bad”

    Agree with your general point about playing the youngsters and have agreed with previous sentiments that most gms won’t take on some of the Knicks baggage. However, as we approach the trade deadline, gm’s don’t always act rationally. Especially those worried about their job.

    The fact that Milwaukee was in serious discussions to acquire Randolph amazes me. He is team poison, IMO. If there’s a team that needs to scorer for a playoff run and it improves our cap situation, jettison him immediately. Moving one or two of these slugs and opening up playing time for the youngsters is a ++.

    I’ve been an Artest fan since he played in college. No doubt he can be trouble. I think he’s worth the risk. If the Knicks had a strong coach (not IT) I think his focus would return to D. Theus isn’t exactly a coach of the year candidate. A very passive coach who Artest takes advantage of.

  33. I have no problem looking to move Randolph, Curry, and, frankly, Crawford and some other slugs…but I would hope we would only make those moves if we got back a contract that was expiring or that was of a lesser duration.

    Any trade made should be done to reduce the cap.
    If the Bricks tried to improve the team by moving these guys, they would likely have to give up future picks and absorb an even uglier contract in return.

    I have a suspicion that Robinson, Lee and Balkman are no where near their ceiling.

    I’m not so sure anymore that Robinson is merely a role player anymore.

    Given 30 minutes per game, I suspect he would be putting of something like 18 ppg, 6-8 assists, 2 spg, and even pull down 4-6 boards. I think his pressure defense is impressive. His ability to penetrate and create his own shot or dish is damn good, and his 3 pt shooting is about 40 percent, which has got to place him fairly high in the league.

    Balkman and Lee may be role players, but they play important roles. They do the things that teams absolutely need: boards, hustle, defense, passing, and in Balkman’s case good ball handling.
    I think Lee has the ethic to improve his mid-range jumper, and his low post moves have improved. They both are very strong finishers around the hoop, and they’re unselfish.

    Balkman still needs to mature and develop his skills rather than relying on his talents.
    Otherwise, nice complementary players that most teams would love to have.

    Maybe with fewer scorers in the lineup at any given time, Crawford won’t feel the need to heave up friggin’ prayers every time he gets a look, however bad a look it is.
    It appears that his assists have been going up recently, even though his shots have increased also.
    Subbing in Randolph or Curry as low post threats that require doubles will open things up. But the Bricks have to accept that there will be long periods when neither Curry or Randolph should be on the floor because of their glaring defensive weaknesses.
    Lee and Jeffries play more aspects of the game well.
    I know. Some disagree with the Jeffries commentary from me, but the guy is pretty light on his feet for being 6’11 and 240. He has a 7-foot wingspan. He can defend a SF and/or a center.
    I think he played some sound basketball in Washington, and given the chance you could expect to see the same here.

    Washington always gave him the toughest defensive assignments and he performed well. He was getting 5 boards, .6 bpg, and .8 spg in 25 minutes per. That’s not too bad when projecting to 40 minutes.

  34. Ditto Frank!

    The core of these guys may be a middling play-off team, the key is no bad contracts added via trade that get in the way of signing, say, LeBron.

    Zeke made Starbury and Curry his cornerstone purchases…both with egregious salaries. Neither is a winner, never were…We don’t need Artest, Bibby, Vince or other guys on the downside of their careers…we need an in-the-prime superstar, and have to be sure the dough is there to get him.

    LeBron is the real deal…surround him with some of the current Knick role players, add a defending big man with some quicks (Oh Marcus Camby, we knew you when!)…now you’re cooking…I’ll put up with a couple more years of losses if it’s sans Starbury and Zeke (I’d like Curry out of here, but can live with him playing 20 minutes off the bench) with an eye to adding James — he scores, rebounds, and passes the ball…and the league should want him in NYC.

  35. Phenomenal Article by Chad Ford, simply stating how awful things have really been. go to and the nba section and youll see “grading Isiah.” Its un real how bad he really f’d up the salary cap and the chance to draft Roy, Gay and many other good players.

  36. sorry bout the double post, and ill stand one million percent corrected if the knicks get bron, but no way i believe in building around this team.

  37. Good summary by Ford. Pretty much saying the Knicks should do what most fans agree on at this point:

    1) Get rid of Marbs
    2) Trade Randolph or Curry for cap relief if possible
    3) Let contracts expire
    4) Keep your picks and use them to build.

  38. flitzy, thanks for posting the link to that article…it’s a devastating indictment of Zeke…and hopefully ends the “but he’s a good drafter” school of thought on this board…

    We can’t take on any more bad contracts, injured guys, or guys with character issues. And without a superstar, you can’t win it all in this league (maybe two or three are required). Randolph, Curry, and Marbury as our superstars? Laughable.

  39. That’s a great article by Ford, thanks for posting.

    I think he deserved a cumulative trade grade of D+.

    Increasingly, I’m coming to the opinion that IT is not as bright as he seemed (and I never thought he was that bright). His arrogance really masked the fact that he’s incompetent and’ off the court, a poor leader.

    (does your link get us into ESPN Insider or are they letting everyone in today?)

    Back to the game(s)…

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