The Orlando Magic is suddenly in desperate need of a point guard and the Knicks have one. But it is not likely a Stephon Marbury-to-Disney scenario will unfold soon. All-Star guard Jameer Nelson may be out for the season with a torn labrum and Magic brass yesterday huddled to discuss their strategies.
Marbury, who remains in exile and nowhere closer to a buyout of his $20.8-million contract than he was when talks initially began more than two months ago, would be a perfect fit if he were available. But the operative word here is "if."
"The problem with Marbury is nothing can happen because he's got to get bought out first," said one NBA coach. "You can't trade for him because he's not even close to what he's worth [contractually] ... Nobody's seen him play in forever. You can't tell anyone with any amount of certainty that he has anything left."
The Magic was linked to Marbury earlier in the season and general manager Otis Smith quickly dismissed the talk, but that could change. However, Smith seemed intent on not making any moves.
"I think you have to evaluate everything but some things we've stood by," Smith said to reporters in Orlando. "We've stood by the type of guys that we like to have on our team. It's about changing the culture and winning for years to come. It's not about changing the culture and winning one year and you go away. We still have a plan in place and we're going to stick to that plan."
Eddy Curry was back for last night's game after he had taken an indefinite leave of absence following the murder of his ex-girlfriend Nova Henry and her 10-month-old daughter Ava Goings - later revealed to also be Curry's child - while Curry's 3-year-old son Noah watched.
Curry, who's played just one game this season and is battling a sore left knee, isn't expected to play until he's able to practice. Coach Mike D'Antoni said he wasn't sure when Curry would be able to get back on the court.
"I think he's still experiencing some pain in his knees," D'Antoni said, "and he's not quite ready to go yet."
Knicks legend Willis Reed was at last night's game. Earlier in the day he was honored at the NBA Store in Manhattan when Wheaties unveiled a new limited-edition package with the captain on the cover. It continues the tradition of honoring well-known African-American athletes during Black History Month.
Staff writer Roderick Boone contributed to this story.