After winning three Chinese Basketball Association championships in six years with the Beijing Ducks, former NBA All-Star guard Stephon Marbury is no longer a member of the team, per Qiushi Li of ESPN. The Ducks held a 2017/18 team option on Marbury as a player or an assistant coach, but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on his role, prompting the club to terminate the contract.
“We agreed that I would leave this season and the door is always open to coach,” Marbury tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “They had the option for me to play or coach, and they wanted me to coach. It’s understandable at my age, but my age doesn’t dictate my game. This gives me strong desire to work hard and try my best to come back to help a team win a [championship].”
Marbury, who turned 40 in February, explained in a letter to fans on Weibo that Beijing has not yet decided on a head coach for next season, making it difficult for him to accept an assistant coaching role with the club. Marbury also wants to continue playing for at least one more season, having previously announced his plans to retire as a player in 2018, and he expects to draw interest from other CBA teams.
A former fourth overall pick in the NBA, Marbury hasn’t played in the Association since he appeared in 23 games for the Celtics during the 2008/09 season. However, he became an international sensation in China, particularly after joining the Ducks in 2011. He was perennially among the CBA’s scoring leaders, and has won the league’s Foreign MVP award and the CBA Finals MVP award.
Although Marbury has spent most of the last decade in China, he recently expressed a desire to return to the NBA down the road as a coach.