NEW YORK (AP) — Stephon Marbury is returning to his
hometown to play for the team he grew up watching.

Janna Hutz
Guard Stephon Marbury will head back to New York to play for his hometown team. (AP PHOTO)

In a blockbuster eight-player trade between New York and the
Phoenix Suns yesterday, Marbury, Penny Hardaway and Cezary
Trybanski were dealt to the Knicks for Antonio McDyess, Howard
Eisley, Charlie Ward, Maciej Lampe, the rights to Milos Vujanic and
two first-round draft picks.

“Our goal is to win an NBA championship, and our goal is
to put together a team that can do that,” Knicks president
Isiah Thomas said after making his first major move in his new
job.

The trade is the fourth of Marbury’s career. The Brooklyn
native was drafted by Milwaukee and immediately dealt to Minnesota,
where he subsequently forced a trade to New Jersey. The Nets sent
him to Phoenix for Jason Kidd, and he’s now headed to the
Knicks.

“I think we got the best deal,” Knicks center
Dikembe Mutombo said. “He’s among the best point guards
in the league, he’s an All-Star player.”

The trade represents a major shakeup for both teams and an
additional long-term financial commitment for a Knicks team that
already has the league’s highest payroll.

In exchange for giving up its best player, Phoenix will be under
the salary cap next summer and will have at least $8 million to
offer to a free agent class that includes Kobe Bryant.

Colangelo said the Suns will save $20 million to $25 million in
salary and luxury tax costs through the 2004-05 season while
Phoenix rebuilds a team that was eliminated in the first round of
the playoffs last season after missing the postseason the year
before.

“If you’re going to win a championship, you need
talent, you need players,” Thomas said. “You’re
not going to beat the best teams with just one or two
players.”

McDyess, who played for the Suns in 1997-98, returned to action
last month after missing more than a year because of knee surgery.
McDyess took over a spot in the Knicks’ starting lineup from
Kurt Thomas, then lost it — thereby becoming expendable.

“We’ve got a scoring point guard coming in, and a
two-guard who’s been getting it done for a number of years.
So it’s going to be a different look for us out there, but it
definitely should be an improvement,” Kurt Thomas said.

The Knicks will give Phoenix their first-round pick in the 2004
draft and an additional first-round pick.

Ward has been with the Knicks for 10 seasons, the second-longest
current tenure of any player who spent his career with one NBA
team. The Suns are expected to waive him before the end of the
week.

Isiah Thomas has already turned over about half the
Knicks’ roster in the two weeks since he replaced team
president Scott Layden.

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