Donnie Walsh won't say how long Stephon Marbury will be gone before he's gone for good.
The New York Knicks president has ordered Marbury not to attend practices or games while they are working toward a buyout, but said Tuesday it wasn't a punishment. Walsh just felt the point guard shouldn't be around the team while both sides are seeking a way to get him off of it.
"It's more the fact that you're in the midst of a conversation about buying out, then I don't think that's part of the what the team is doing, so in that sense the situation could be a distraction," Walsh said.
Walsh said he didn't consider his action to be disciplinary, and refused to say if Marbury agreed with the decision or even needed to. The NBA allows teams to take this type of action, as the Indiana Pacers are doing with Jamaal Tinsley, but the players' association could choose to file a grievance.
Walsh said he had "no idea" if his decision would bring union action. Of course, there's not much to gain by an appeal. Marbury already made it clear he no longer wants to be a Knick, twice declining coach Mike D'Antoni's offers to play, then ripping the coach, teammates and Walsh in a pair of stories in the New York Post.
Marbury and Walsh met Monday, but their discussion didn't go far. The point guard was in the Knicks' practice facility for only about 20 minutes, and the players' association attorney advising him exited about 20 minutes later and said the issue was "not resolved."
Walsh said the sides will continue to talk, but won't say when he expects the matter to be resolved.
"I don't think you go into any kind of negotiation with a timetable," Walsh said. "Obviously I think both sides would like to see this happen as fast as it can happen."
A quick resolution would help the Knicks, who are wasting a roster spot on Marbury while being short-handed in the backcourt, where Nate Robinson and Cuttino Mobley are unavailable and Chris Duhon is playing with a bad back.
Plus, the organization seems fed up with the whole thing. D'Antoni and the players are tired of being asked about someone who hasn't played a minute all season, and Walsh had talked for less than 90 seconds Tuesday before saying he was done answering Marbury questions.
Walsh added he didn't consider suspending Marbury again for his public criticisms.