Stephon Marbury and the Beijing Ducks have parted ways, unable to come to terms on the guard’s role or salary for next season.
Marbury’s contract with the Chinese Basketball Association team included a team option for Marbury as a player or assistant coach for the 2017-18 season. The Ducks wanted Marbury to come back as a coach; he wants to play another season and was released from the final year of his deal, ESPN.com reported.
Marbury achieved legendary status in his six seasons with the Ducks, leading the team to three championships and having a museum and a statue dedicated to him in downtown Beijing.
In a letter posted on Weibo (think China’s version of Twitter), Marbury thanked his Beijing fans but said he’s not done playing in the country. While the Ducks had concerns about his age (he turned 40 in February) and health, he averaged 21.4 points, 5.5 assists and four rebounds in 36 games this season.
"Of course the fans of Beijing who gave me my second life, thank you so much as always. LOVE is LOVE," he wrote.
Earlier in the letter, he said the Ducks may not bring back head coach Min Lulei, who guided the team to the three championships, which made it difficult to accept the offer to be an assistant.
Plus, he wants to play at least one more year.
Marbury told The Undefeated, "We agreed that I would leave this season and the door is always open to coach. 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 chip."