GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Stephon Marbury was suspended one game and docked nearly $400,000 in salary Friday by the New York Knicks, who say he refused to play in a loss this week at Detroit.
The disgruntled guard insists coach Mike D'Antoni never ordered him to play. The discipline by the Knicks clearly escalates the tension between the team and its one-time star, who has not played this season under their new coach.
D'Antoni wouldn't get into specifics of his conversation with Marbury that took place before Wednesday's 110-96 loss, though he made it clear he asked the point guard to play because the Knicks were short-handed.
"I'm not going to get into order, not order," D'Antoni said after practice Friday. "I think I've already said what happened and he said what happened, and now we'll just let it play. And like I said, it's a regrettable situation for everybody and nobody wants to be in this spot, but we'll play it out to the best of our ability."
Marbury will not be paid when he sits out Saturday's home game against Golden State and will lose an additional game's pay. He earns approximately $21 million in salary this year, drawing about $190,000 a game.
"A player's central obligation is to provide his professional services when called upon," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said in a statement. "Because he refused the coach's request to play in the team's last game, we had no choice but to impose disciplinary action."
Walsh was in Indiana for the holiday but is expected to address the issue before Saturday's game.
The players' association plans to file a grievance on Marbury's behalf. While Marbury said his preference was not to play, "he made it clear he was not refusing to play," according to a players' association official who requested anonymity because the appeals process had not yet begun.
"If you say I got to play, I'm going to play," Marbury, speaking before the suspension, said in Friday's New York Post. "If he said I have to play, guess what, I'm going to get on the court and play, period. If I refuse to play, I'm getting suspended. I never told him I'm not going to play. Those words never came out of my mouth. That's insubordination."
Marbury told the Post that "I'm not going to let them" take his money. Marbury said he doesn't trust D'Antoni and wanted out.
"We need to separate from the relationship," he said. "The marriage is over. It's a done deal."
"I didn't create this," Marbury added. "I'm sitting inside the car. I'm not behind the wheel in the driver's seat. I have no control of the wheel of the car, if we're turning or going straight. I'm sitting in the back seat. He's not going to play me because my heart isn't in it, because the way he treated me. That's on him, not me."
Marbury was not in D'Antoni's plans after the coach was hired, but trades and injuries have left the Knicks short-handed. After two trades last week, Marbury suited up at Milwaukee but declined to play. At the time, D'Antoni said he wasn't angry and didn't consider the decision insubordination.
On Wednesday, however, guard Nate Robinson missed the game with a groin strain, but Marbury was not in uniform.