The Boston Celtics signed Stephon Marbury on Friday, bringing the former New York Knicks headache aboard in their attempt to repeat as NBA champions.
|Stephon Marbury wears in his new Boston shirt [GALLO/GETTY]
Hours after Marbury cleared waivers following his messy divorce from the Knicks, he was dressing for the defending champions' game against the Indiana Pacers.
Marbury, who turned 32 last week, has not played a regular-season game in more than a year while fighting with Knicks management over his role and, ultimately, a buyout of his $20.8 million contract.
Marbury scored six points in his debut game in the tight fourth quarter as Boston edged past the Indiana Pacers 104-99.
"I'm just so happy to be able to play basketball again, no matter what my role is,'' Marbury said.
"I was lit up because the tradition of the Celtics - you think about the championships, you think about all the guys who have played here. The history speaks for itself.''
The former All-Star, who alienated Knicks management, teammates and fans, was waived on Tuesday after he agreed to a settlement.
"I'm human. I make mistakes,'' Marbury said.
"I have learned from my mistakes. You've got to keep on pushing on.''
Coach Doc Rivers said he wasn't concerned about introducing a potential malcontent into what has been a harmonious locker room, a domain kept in check by veteran All-Stars like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
"That was New York, and everywhere else. That has nothing to do with today,'' Rivers said.
"We're doing very well. Our locker room's pretty strong.''
The Celtics were expected to pay Marbury a pro-rated share of the veteran's $1.3 million minimum.
He will back up Rajon Rondo at point guard, a role Sam Cassell served when the Celtics won their 17th NBA title last season.
Eddie House, who was more of a shooter, has been forced into the role this year; Cassell did not play in a game for Boston this year before he was traded to the Sacramento Kings and released last week.