Speculation has been running rampant in the past 48 hours regarding the potential return of Stephon Marbury to Beantown. It started with an unconfirmed report from NES247.com that the former Georgia Tech star would be back in green. This story has fueled futher speculation as well as the rebuffing of any new movement towards a deal from different sources all around the net.
At this point, I think if any deal were to go down with Marbury it’s not going to come for a while yet, unless Marbury takes his medicine and accepts the veteran’s minimum contract he reportedly turned down from Danny Ainge weeks ago. There have been reports out there that the C’s may offer Marbury some, if not all of their biannual exception for him to return to town, but that rumor seems foolish to me for a couple reasons.
1) The team has committed that money (1.9 million) to Marquis Daniels for the time being. Now we know Ainge is looking to avoid this and acquire Daniels in a sign and trade with Indiana while shedding some of the C’s excess baggage in the form of Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine. However for the reasons I discussed earlier this week, that scenario doesn’t look promising unless a 3rd team were to get involved. If that somehow gets done, I think that still wouldn’t matter much which brings me to my second point.
2) Stephon Marbury is not worth the biannual exception. That may seem like a harsh assessment but it is the truth. His inconsistent play combined with a down economy has left most teams looking to shed excess dollars. A few years ago, the market for a reclamation project like Marbury would have been more promising for the former Knick. For a couple million dollars, someone could have been willing to take a flier on Marbury becoming a competent NBA point guard once again after sitting out the majority of last season.
Right now though, we are talking about a guy in Starbury who is 32 years old and shot 34% from the field last year and 24% from downtown. Do I think those numbers will go up next year? In the right spot with the right team, absolutely. I wouldn’t be willing to bet the farm on it though, and to be honest I just don’t think there are many of those situations out there for him.
There are clearly far fewer than Marbury himself anticipated going into free agency as it appears few if any teams have come knocking. In fact, several teams lacking depth at the one spot, also addressed their need in a draft that was deep with PG’s this year (Utah, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Denver to name a few)
Those draft picks combined with a bear market has worked in favor of the Celtics on potentially having the option of bringing back Marbury at a discounted rate. I guess my question through all of these rumors is if Stephon is worth bringing back all together? A closer look at this proposition after the jump.I spoke at length to Gary Tanguay about this in my interview with him last week. Gary made the great point that while Starbury likely has nowhere to go this offseason, the C’s themselves have nowhere to turn themselves for a backup PG having no real money to spend on one.
The C’s wisely addressed more pressing needs at other positions (big man, swingman) with Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels using up their free agent budget commendably in doing so. The acquisition of Daniels also helped to address the PG problem as the former Pacer can play some point if called upon. It’s likely he will be needed more in relief Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, rather than giving the 23 year old Rondo a blow.
Despite the Daniels signing, what the C’s need right now is a guy at the backup point guard spot is someone who can hold their own for 10-15 minutes a game and facilitate what will be a much improved 2nd unit with several capable shooters (Wallace, House, Big Baby if he returns.)
My question to Celtics fans is if we want Stephon Marbury to be that guy? He has shown that he can be the man and take lots of shots on a mediocre team. The C’s bench this upcoming year will not need him to do that. He will have to distribute the ball better and learn to pick his spots, something he struggled with last year as he proved to be almost too hesitant and unselfish at times with the 2nd unit.
I remain hopeful he will improve in that department next year if he gets a complete season with the team under his belt. It’s also possible though his shoddy numbers from last year are a sign of a decline in his overall play that has come to fruition.
If that is the case, there are many other cheap but flawed point guard options out there on the free agent scrap heap that could be had for the veteran’s minimum. I will take a closer look at these options tomorrow. For now though, I want to know if you think Marbury would be the pick of the liter from those lackluster options (Anthony Carter, Jamal Tinsley, Kevin Ollie to name a few) out there. The guy may have nowhere to go, but then again neither do the C’s.