New York Knicks: The Stephon Marbury trade that welcomed a star

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) /

In this latest edition of New York Knicks Trade History, a look back at the deal that brought Stephon Marbury to the Big Apple.

Trades constantly changed the look of the New York Knicks in the mid-2000s, often acquiring high-salary players. This struggled to succeed, as losing records followed, year by year, and sunk this team to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

The biggest splash was Stephon Marbury, who arrived in a 2004 trade from the Phoenix Suns. It was New York’s biggest acquisition of the 2000s at that point, with an eye on having a dynamic player at point guard.

How did this trade result for the Knicks?

What the Knicks traded

It took a pool of players for the Knicks to make this trade, featuring Howard Eisley, Maciej Lampe, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward and Milos Vujanic. Lampe was a recent first-round pick, Eisley and Ward were role players and McDyess never worked out in New York due to injuries.

None of these players went on to have stardom with the Suns or another team they went to, so it kept that part of the deal quiet.

However, the New York sent a first-round pick in 2004 and 2010.

The first selection became Kirk Snyder, who only lasted three-plus years with four teams. He was the 16th overall pick.

Six years later, the Utah Jazz made Gordon Hayward a top-10 pick, and he went on to have seven years of success there as a lead player and an All-Star by his final season. This became, by far, the best piece to result from the trade for either side, and it was a third team that received the benefits.

What the Knicks acquired

This trade, of course, was about Marbury, who already played a chunk of time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Jersey Nets at that point. His time in Phoenix lasted just two-plus years before the move to New York.

The longest Marbury spent with a team was the Knicks, for 287 games. He began well, averaging nearly a double-double in points and assists after the trade. This was the team’s star, so the Brooklyn, NY native had a moderately-high 26.3 usage percentage.

Marbury carried this into his age-27 season. From 21.7 points per game and career-high 46.2 percent shooting to the Starbury sneaker line, everything but the final record seemed fine.

By 2005-06, the years of playing heavy minutes — around 38-to-40 minutes per game since age 19 — caught up. Injuries developed, causing a quick statistical decline. He averaged 16.4 points and just 5.9 assists from 2005-07, and by his last year in New York, at age 30, it was just 13.9 points and 4.7 assists.

Marbury stayed under contract with the Knicks in 2008-09, when he was owed $20.8 million, but the team waived him, and he signed with the Boston Celtics for the rest of the season. Lackluster production there caused a departure to China, where he became a basketball legend in the 2010s.

Penny Hardaway was the second player aboard this transaction for the Knicks. Injuries had already taken their toll by his late 20s, so the Knicks only received an expensive role player by taking his high salary. This pairing lasted parts of three seasons, but for just 83 games.

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Cezary Trybański was the final piece of this deal. He played three games for the New York Knicks in 2003-04 and never appeared in the NBA again.