27 11 2008

There comes a point in most undertakings in life where it’s time to walk away.  When two (or more) parties are involved, it becomes a little tougher, but the theory remains the same.  Sometimes it’s best to just get the hell outta Dodge.No hearts here...
Kenny Rogers was right smack on the money with his song The Gambler.

“You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”

There aren’t many better images than this for where the New York Knicks and Stephon Marbury now find themselves. It’s the classic stare-down. New York doesn’t want to just tell Marbury to get out, and there’s too much money on the table for him to walk away.

At the beginning of the season, the New York Knicks embodied by Donnie Walsh and miscreant...Mike D’Antoni made it abundantly clear to Stephon Marbury that he was in no way, shape or form part of their plans for the future. Fast-forward to now: two massive trades involving guards Jamaal Crawford and Mardy Collins (and forward Zach Randolph) occurred. Then an injury to Nate Robinson… and health concerns for new-Knick Cuttino Mobley – this left the Knicks with only two healthy guards: Chris Duhon and Anthony Roberson. Marbury was told prior to at least two games (against the Bucks, and the Pistons) that if he wanted court-time, it was his for the taking.

Marbury’s response?
No thanks.

Whilst his refusal to have anything to do with the Knicks (other than cash paychecks from them) must be infuriating for the Knicks hierarchy, the implications for Marbury himself are even greater.

It’s easy to understand Marbury’s continued refusal to play. The Knicks made their opinion of him clear, but now that they need him, they turn up on his doorstep cap-in-hand and expect it of him. Most people would have the same reaction: thumb their nose at the arrogance displayed by these people.
But they’d be wrong too.
The powers that be...Aside from the fact that it’s a reasonable request made by the people who give him a very sizable amount of money, it could have repercussions on his career post-Knicks.
There was every possibility that a team would pick up Marbury for a deal once he finished with the Knicks (which could be any day now). But his “no thanks” and refusal to be a part of the team are indicative of an attitude that might end up making him as big a pariah in basketball as Barry Bonds is in baseball.

What should the Knicks do?
Cut their losses and run – they’ll be paying him the money any way. Marbury’s very presence is a cancer. He’s clashed with pretty much every authority figure within the New York office – Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas, and now Mike D’Antoni/Donnie Walsh. This is a man that was once called “the most reviled athlete in New York” (New York Daily News).
It’s well past time for New York to bid Stephon Marbury adieu.
Know when to walk away and know when to run.


Radioactive Warning: Usage At Your Own Risk

12 12 2007

There are some sports-personalities that create a situation where they accrue a certain degree of ‘radioactivity’.  That is to say that they may become so detrimental to their sport that at the very least, they come with a ‘handle with care’ label.  Some are virtually unemployable.  Thus, the ‘radioactive’ warning.  Note: any player who is considered ‘radioactive’, even with a ‘low rating’, is still a dangerous proposition…

Some of the more obvious in their respective sports…

Barry Bonds - HighBarry Bonds – Bonds is pretty much limited to playing in the American League as a DH now, and even then, it’s going to be a stretch as to whether he finds a team to ply his trade with. 
The perjury trial looms large and dark over his immediate future… add to that his advanced age (at least as far as professional baseballer’s go), and it doesn’t bode well for the slugger.  That’s totally ignoring the issue that in general he’s considered to be an absolutely deplorable player to have within the clubhouse. 
It’s highly unlikely that Barry finds himself on a roster come next season – far too radioactive.

Isiah Thomas - HighIsiah Thomas – Seemingly invulnerable at the moment at the New York Knicks, but things are racing towards an inevitable storm at the MSG. 
Sooner or later, Dolan’s going to have to cut Isiah, or risk alienating his entire fanbase… if he hasn’t done so already. 
Once that occurs, Thomas is done. 
All that’s occurred is that an unrepentant Isiah Thomas has painted himself as irredeemable, unemployable… and highly radioactive.

Stephon Marbury - HighStephon Marbury – cannot do a post about Isiah’s shortcomings without a follow-up about Starbury. 
The two go hand-in-glove… and if not hand-in-glove, then at least handcuffed. 
Whilst Marbury has become a veritable law unto himself in Madison Square Gardens, he is recognized as cancer within the locker-room by pretty much every other franchise. 
Whatever it is that he has as leverage over Isiah Thomas must be quite ominous for him to have the license to act with the impunity he currently enjoys within the New York Knicks franchise. 
Once his millstone of a contract expires at the Knicks, it’s impossible to imagine that another team picks him up, unless it’s at a bargain-basement price… despite his obvious talent – and that earns him a ‘high’ rating.

James Dolan - MediumJames Dolan – in no danger of finding himself without a job – as he owns the franchise – but this owner has to be included merely for the way that he has not only allowed Isiah to run the once-proud New York franchise into the ground, but also for the way that he has steadfastly supported Thomas throughout the process. 
He is simply complicit.
The degree of disgust with which New York fans hold Isiah Thomas, and by inaction – James Dolan, is incredible.
This owner does run the risk of his daddy stepping in, and giving him a good ol’ fashioned dressing-down.  Because he currently runs the show, only a medium level of radioactivity.

Michael Vick - MediumMichael Vick – As a quarterback, he wasn’t that good. 
Ok, ok… granted: an amazing athlete, and he challenged teams to stop him – his mobility second to no other QB in the NFL.  But he’d never be mistaken for being anywhere near the stratosphere of Manning & Brady. 
Not even on a parity with Carson Palmer, Tony Romo or Ben Roethlisberger. 
Does anyone doubt that he’d never lead Atlanta to a Superbowl as QB? 
Once he gets out of jail, and serves whatever suspension that the Commissioner lays on him, he will be the far side of 30 before he gets on to turf again… and with 3 to 4 years out of the game. 
Vick will have massive baggage too, there will be those that push for him to never set foot on a ground again. 
For what it’s worth, I think he plays again, but not as a quarterback.  As such, only gets a medium rating.

Ron Artest - LowRon Artest – Not quite as prohibitive as the previously named denizens of the dark, but none-the-less, should be handled with extreme care. 
Ron-ron really needs an incredibly strong personality dealing with him, merely to keep him in check. 
Even the great Larry Bird wasn’t able to keep a suitable reign on Artest, and pretty much every team that looks at bringing in Ronnie has to weigh up the immense chance of an RA implosion. 
Will always have a team to go to (unless something worse than he’s already done occurs), but will never command the salary that his level of play dictates he should – thus his ‘low’ rating…

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add ’em in the comments section…

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