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Celtics seem OK with potential Marbury addition

Posted Jan 4 2009 10:24PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Boston Celtics are aware of Stephon Marbury's reputation. They're also aware they may need more depth to win another title.

So if general manager Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers decide the banished New York Knicks guard can help them, the Celtics players sound willing to go along with it.

Even Kevin Garnett, whose promising partnership with Marbury in Minnesota was wrecked when Marbury wanted out, said he'd give the OK if Marbury "was about making this team better."

"I'm not opposed to Steph. I feel like Steph has a lot of basketball in him and his IQ is very, very high," Garnett said Sunday after the Celtics' 100-88 loss to the Knicks.

"He is one of the best point guards I've ever played with. I wouldn't be opposed to that. If Steph came to this team and made it better, I'm all for that."

The Celtics sure look like they could use some help, having lost four of their last six games following a 27-2 start.

"He's been a great talent in this league for a long time," All-Star Ray Allen said before the game. "I don't know the situation that happened with him in New York, but I know he's got a lot of basketball left in him."

It won't be played in New York, though. The Knicks haven't used Marbury this season and have ordered him to stay away while they work toward a buyout. It still hasn't been completed, because Marbury has refused to give up much or any of his nearly $21 million salary in negotiations, and there were no discussions during the holidays.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh and Marbury's representation from the NBA players' association could resume talks next week toward a divorce. If that gets completed, reported last week that the Celtics would be interested in signing him, confident they could deal with any questions about Marbury's character.

"People may think it's a bad idea, but I think that they could help you," point guard Rajon Rondo said of bringing in help. "Anybody that is a great player in this league that could help out -- we are 15 strong but this is a business and that's how it goes. I'm new in this league and I heard a little bit about his reputation, but I'm not going to judge him."

If the Celtics' potential pursuit of a malcontent like Marbury seems confusing, try listening to Rivers talk about it.

"I can't answer the question," he said when first asked about Marbury. "I can, but I'm not. Actually I don't think I can, but if I could, I wouldn't. So I'm just going to leave it alone."

The Celtics added veteran help late last season with the additions of P.J. Brown and Sam Cassell, who helped them win their 17th NBA championship. However, they were respected leaders, while Marbury has feuded with coaches and alienated teammates during his five years in New York.

Rivers said he didn't know Marbury, but a few Celtics do. Allen was traded for him on draft night in 1996, instead sending Marbury to the Timberwolves and the partnership with Garnett that he eventually wanted out of.

Rivers said he would discuss bringing in any player with his team. He would likely find support in the locker room.

"Stephon is very talented, definitely," Paul Pierce said. "I've had a chance to see him in face (to face) since I was in the 10th grade or so. It's an unfortunate situation that he's not able to be on the court right now."

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