Knicks' Marbury plans to return to team after new year

New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury informed the team on Thursday that he plans on returning to the team after the new year, according to Knicks' vice president of communications Jonathan Supranowitz.

Supranowitz spoke with Marbury after Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said at practice earlier on Thursday that he did not know if Marbury would return to the team.

"He has not given anyone in our organization any indication that he will not be back," Supranowitz said.

Thomas' confidence in Marbury's return to the team this season appeared to be waning on Thursday.

On Friday, the Knicks coach told the New York Post that he hoped Marbury would return soon.

During Thursday's media availability at practice, Thomas was asked if Marbury will return to the Knicks at all this season.

"I don't know," Thomas said.

A little more than 24 hours ago at the Knicks morning shootaround in Orlando, Thomas said the Knicks are "expecting Marbury back at some point in time this year."

Marbury has missed eight of the Knicks' last 12 games as he grieves the death of his father, Don. Thomas and the Knicks have given Marbury as much time as he needs.

"Our organization speaks with him daily," Thomas said. "It is very safe to say he is having a very difficult time with this."

Thomas says that Marbury has permission to not be with the team. That differs from a situation earlier this season, when Marbury left the Knicks before a game at Phoenix, reportedly after he confronted Thomas over his demotion from the starting lineup.

The Knicks and Marbury still disagree over whether Thomas gave Marbury permission to leave the team. That move cost Marbury nearly $200,000 in fines, a decision Marbury is appealing. On Wednesday, Thomas said the Knicks would not reconsider the fine.

Andrew Marchand is managing editor of 1050 ESPN New York.