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Marbury signs with Celtics, likely to play

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff  February 27, 2009 01:38 PM

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The Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent guard Stephon Marbury. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed, though two NBA sources said before Marbury cleared waivers that he would sign for the prorated veteran minimum of $1.3 million for the rest of the season.

"We are very excited to have a player of Stephon’s caliber joining our team. Our entire organization is confident in the belief that Stephon can play an important role in helping us to win another championship,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

Ainge said on sports-radio WEEI's "The Big Show" shortly after 4 p.m. that he expects Marbury will play tonight, saying he'll likely be "thrown into the fire."

Marbury, atwo-time All-Star who will wear No. 8 with the Celtics, is undergoing a physical this afternoon and is expected to attend a closed practice at TD Banknorth Garden at 5 p.m. before tonight's game against Indiana.

Marbury, a 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound guard, is in his 13th season in the NBA and has posted career averages of 19.7 points and 7.8 assists per game.

The 32-year-old averaged 13.9 points and 4.7 assists in 24 games for the Knicks last season, but he hasn't played in a regular-season game since Jan. 11, 2008. He needed surgery for bone spurs that ended his 2007-08 season, and with the arrival of president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni during the offseason, the Knicks wanted to move on from the Marbury era and start fresh. He was bought out of his contract Tuesday.

The Celtics became intrigued with Marbury in the preseason when he averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 assists and went to the free throw line regularly in seven games.

He scored 16 points against Boston in an Oct. 21 game, but last played in a preseason game against New Jersey Oct. 24. He was suspended by the Knicks shortly thereafter.

Marbury and coach Doc Rivers are scheduled to meet with reporters at 5:45 p.m.

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