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News » KNICKS: James wants one last shot


KNICKS: James wants one last shot


KNICKS: James wants one last shot
As exiled guard Stephon Marbury attempts to negotiate his Basketball freedom in a meeting today with Knicks president Donnie Walsh, another player who has been similarly buried by the new regime quietly bides his time with far less attention.

Jerome James knows what he is in the eyes of Knicks fans. He also knows his days are numbered. But all he wants is a few spare minutes before he goes. Seconds, even. Just to shake a little of that reputation as the 7-1, nearly 320-pound center who took a $30-million midlevel exception contract from Isiah Thomas and then treated conditioning as a leisure sport.

"I can't leave New York without at least making my stamp and letting New York know I wasn't here taking money," James said. "That's not me. I've always had a passion for Basketball and unfortunately, due to injuries, I wasn't able to show 'em that side of me. I want to show them that side and then I'll get my -- out of here. I'll leave."

Along with Marbury, James is the other player on the Knicks' roster who has yet to see a single tick of playing time by the decision of coach Mike D'Antoni.

Eddy Curry also could be considered among the unwanted, but a knee injury has not allowed him to even be an option. Curry has been fitted for a brace and is expected to start working himself back into practice this week. With Zach Randolph gone, the Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - need Curry's post presence, so once he is in shape, playing time is sure to come.

Despite his recent issues, at least Marbury saw 20 minutes a game in the preseason. James didn't even get off the bench. But the two hardly are comparable on the court. Marbury is a former two-time all-star and unquestionably the team's most talented player. James is a journeyman center who has been plagued by injuries and conditioning issues.

Marbury turned down an opportunity to play Nov. 21 in Milwaukee and allegedly refused to play Wednesday in Detroit, which earned him a one-game suspension and could lead to the end of his career as a Knick. Walsh will meet with Marbury and NBA Players Association associate counsel Hal Biagas today to open buyout talks on the remaining $18.3 million on Marbury's $21.9-million contract.

James, on the other hand, would give anything for D'Antoni to call his number.

"Me and Steph live in different worlds," James said. "I'm the blue-collar work guy. I can't even imagine what a superstar goes through and what their mind-set is when it comes to playing this game ... So I can't even comment on what he's going through."

What he can do is continue to hold out hope that D'Antoni eventually finds a need for a glacial chunk of humanity in his high-energy system.

"All I'm thinking is, I know this style of play has won for him in the past in the regular season, but fortunately for me, it's also lost for him in the past in the postseason," James said of D'Antoni's history with the Phoenix Suns. "So that's what keeps me optimistic. I'm thinking, I've had success in the postseason and it's a half-court game ... He's going to say to himself, it's the postseason and they're going to make it a half-court game, so we've got to go to our post-up guys. Hey, I'm one of them! We've got to go to shot-blockers. I'm the only one on the team! So I'm optimistic."

As for negotiating a buyout of his own, James said he wouldn't do that until after this season because he has a $6.6-million player option for 2009-10. The 33-year-old veteran said he would be willing to talk about a buyout once he exercises his option. But before then, he just wants to see some live action just one more time. "If I'm able to play a couple of games, play passionately and let people know I really wanted to play, hell, next year I will, buy me out," he said. "I'm out. I'm gone."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 1, 2008

 

 
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