Stephon Marbury has signed with a professional basketball team in China, and no one on his last NBA team seems to be surprised.
Doc Rivers also isn’t surprised, looking back at the guard’s bizarre series of web-casts last summer, that the process took awhile.
“I did not think he was done,’’ the Celtics coach said before last night’s game against Dallas. “I thought he still had a lot of basketball still left in him. I thought someone would actually pick him up this summer. But I don’t think that web broadcast helped his cause at all. I think he’s going over there to show he can still play.
“I didn’t know,’’ he said. “I’m very surprised by that. That’s the first I’ve heard of it.’’
Told that part of Marbury’s goal was to market his discount sneaker line – Starbury – in China, Rivers shrugged and said, “He’s a businessman, too.’’
Contrary to what Marbury has told others – that the Celtics offered to bring him back on a veteran’s minimum contract – Rivers said that scenario was never going to work.
“We had him for the right amount of time, which was good,’’ he said. “If he came back he would have wanted to play for more minutes, which is something you couldn’t blame him for.’’
Instead, according to Ray Allen, Marbury now gets to showcase what is left of his ability and plot a proper return.
“He can be successful over there,’’ said Allen. “If he can start playing well, he’ll get teams back here interested in him again. When he was here he clearly had a lot of basketball left in him. I don’t think he’s done if he goes over there and shows that he has some game left in him.’’ … Paul Pierce started tonight despite leaving Sunday’s practice following a knee-to-knee collision with Shelden Williams. Pierce suffered the bump on the spot where he had two procedures to drain fluid from an infection.
Rasheed Wallace, who missed the last three games with a sore foot, also started.