NEW YORK -- Stephon Marbury to Greece? It is being considered on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Representatives of the Greek club Olympiacos contacted the New York Knicks earlier in the day in an effort to begin a dialogue on what it would take to get Marbury released from his contract, sources told ESPN.
Olympiacos recently lost Josh Childress for six to eight weeks after he returned to the United States for surgery to repair a sports hernia, and the club is seeking to acquire a replacement player in time for the start of the Top 16 phase of the Euroleague season, which begins Jan. 29 and runs through March 12.
Marbury has been exiled since early in the season by the Knicks, who have been unable to make any substantial progress in buyout talks with the former All-Star. Marbury is in the final season of his contract and is making $20.8 million to sit on the sidelines. He has offered to give back $1 million to secure his release, but the Knicks have asked for more. Also, Knicks president Donnie Walsh remains convinced that a viable trade opportunity involving Marbury could arise between now and the Feb. 19 trade deadline.
Marbury is aware of Olympiacos' interest but has had no contact with the club, according to a source close to the Knicks, who said he expected additional dialogue on the subject over the next few days.
It would be highly unusual, but not unprecedented, for a Greek club to broker a buyout between an NBA team and a player. In the summer of 2007 when the Houston Rockets acquired the rights to Luis Scola from San Antonio for Vassilis Spanoulis, the Greek guard had grown so disenchanted with the NBA that he was willing to forego the $4 million he was due to be paid. Olympiacos' rival, Panathinakos, ended up paying the Spurs an undisclosed sum to secure Spanoulis' release.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.