NEW YORK—Stephon Marbury was inactive again Sunday, and Knicks president Donnie Walsh plans to speak with coach Mike D'Antoni and his point guard this week in hopes of clearing up an uncomfortable roster situation.
Marbury is so far out of the plans that D'Antoni tabbed Jerome James instead of Marbury to replace the injured Eddy Curry on the active list against Milwaukee, even though the 7-foot-1, 285-pound James played in just two games last season and would seem a horrible fit for an uptempo system.
Marbury, on the other hand, might be New York's most talented player. Yet D'Antoni doesn't want to play him sporadically, preferring to give limited backcourt minutes to players who are part of the Knicks' future.
Marbury isn't. He is in the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $21 million this season, and the Knicks surely won't re-sign him.
That salary, plus his history of clashing with coaches, makes Marbury difficult to trade. He's already made it clear he won't take a buyout for less than his full salary, so Walsh acknowledged there "aren't a lot of options out there," for getting rid of Marbury.
So with two days off coming up, Walsh will talk to Marbury and D'Antoni and see how to handle the situation, which has overshadowed everything else this season for the Knicks.
"I haven't talked it out with anybody. I want to talk to Mike, see where this is going to go because I'm unclear, I think like everybody is," Walsh said.
Marbury was active but didn't play Wednesday in the season opener, with some fans chanting "We want Steph!" in the second half of a victory over Miami.
D'Antoni then placed Marbury on the inactive list Friday before a loss at Philadelphia, feeling that he wouldn't have enough minutes for a player of Marbury's stature.
"I just don't think he's one of those guys that you can play with," D'Antoni said. "'Oh get in for a sec, oh get out, oh get in.' I think that's … I don' want to use the word disrespectful because it's a privilege to play in the league, but at the same time I feel for him."
Marbury hasn't caused any trouble yet, saying he understands D'Antoni's decisions. That could change at any minute, since Marbury feuded with both Larry Brown and Isiah Thomas, his past two coaches.
Walsh said he couldn't envision a scenario where Marbury would be with the Knicks and inactive the rest of the season. He doesn't like buyouts, and said he's nowhere near asking the point guard to accept less money so he could be cut.
So if Marbury refuses to budge on the money, he could be here a while— maybe even with an occasional appearance on the court.
"He does make a lot of money and you never know what happens," D'Antoni said. "Obviously we went into a different direction but at the same time we owe him money and if an injury happens I wouldn't hesitate putting him back in. I wouldn't even hesitate putting him back in as a starter, but if an injury happened at a certain spot. But until that happens, then I think common sense is just that he's inactive right now."
Curry, who isn't part of D'Antoni's rotation anyway, had his right knee drained before the opener and has been complaining of soreness.