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Marbury splits from Beijing, looking for new club to play final season
Last Updated: 2017-04-25 07:21 | chinadaily.com.cn
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Star player Stephon Marbury will split from the Beijing Shougang Ducks after negotiations failed to resolve a contract dispute.

Marbury, who led Beijing to win three Chinese Basketball Association titles in six years, re-signed with the Ducks on a three-year contract in 2015 which gave the Ducks the option of hiring him as an assistant coach for the 2017-18 season.

After the Ducks failed to make the 2016-17 season playoffs in February, Marbury has repeatedly voiced his desire to play one more season in Beijing.

However, the team wants to rebuild after the disappointing season and gave Marbury a coaching post.

The club announced on Saturday that negotiations failed to resolve the disagreement and it will terminate Marbury's contract to allow him to leave Beijing as a free agent.

Marbury later posted a statement on his personal Weibo account, confirming the split.

"My team and I have been discussing this matter with the club for a certain amount of time so that a veteran's last wish can be blessed. That's why we offered the club options including to cut 20 percent of my salary so that I could work as a player/coach in the coming season," Marbury said in the statement.

However, Xie Haitian, the Ducks' deputy general manager, said the salary required by Marbury's agent as a player and coach was "a lot higher" than the amount that the club could offer.

"Despite not wanting to see him leave, the club has to give up the team option of keeping him with the Ducks based on the team's strategic rebuilding process and his personal will to continue playing," Xie said.

Marbury, 40, said he hasn't decided which team to play for in the 2017-18 season.

"I am playing next year and then retire but you never know," Marbury told China Daily on Saturday afternoon.

"As a 20-year veteran, I understand this is a professional game, that's why I fully respect the club's situation and decision."

"We all know, time flies and things change. To me it's hard to take the decision of Shougang's club by not putting me in their jersey because I love this team, this city and I cherish all of the past we've been through together. I embrace their decision," he said.

Signed by the Shanxi Brave Dragons in 2009 to play in the CBA after a 13-year rollercoaster career in the NBA, Marbury has built sensational popularity among fans in Beijing over the past six years.

The club erected a bronze statue of him outside its home court, the Wukesong Arena, after the first championship in 2012. The New York native had his image printed on a set of postage stamps and was given a Chinese "green card", the permanent residence permit given to foreigners for their outstanding contribution to China.

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