I would pay to see this — he really is going to be Starbury.
Stephon Marbury is getting his own play. In China. And he is going to star in it.
Marbury played 13 NBA seasons, being named to two All-Star teams, but as his stateside career wound down he took his talents to China for the payday. There he led the Beijing Ducks to the 2011-2012 Chinese Basketball Association title. That led them to put up a statue of Marbury in Beijing.
Now there is going to be a play about that season called “I Was Marbury.” Ben Sin at Sports Illustrated has the details (hat tip to James Herbert at Eye on Basketball).
The play’s director, Zhou Wenhong, told Chinese media that the main theme of the play will be “never give up” and will incorporate choreographed basketball moves with dance. Marbury, however, describes the play’s story in grander terms, saying in a press conference the play focuses on “Sino-US relations”.
Marbury will play himself in the production, but will only appear in a few scenes — the story apparently focuses on other Chinese characters who have been inspired by Marbury.
According to the production’s official website, the show will have a different guest star each night, including Yao Ming and former NBA journeyman Wang Zhizhi.
Seriously. I want to see that. Even if I don’t understand a word of it.
Marbury isn’t done in China. Last season he averaged 21.8 points a game leading Beijing to its second CBA title. This season he is joined in China by Metta World Peace, er, The Panda Friend. But whatever he calls himself this week, and as big a character as he is, he has a long, long way to go to catch up with Marbury.
Marbury went to China and owned it.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.