(Stephon at last week’s Knicks Poetry Slam, scanning the crowd for Phil Mushnick’s beard)

The Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein coaxes yet another candid quip out of Larry Brown while discussing the inavailabilty of Stephon Marbury.

Stephon Marbury said he will allow the Knicks medical staff to decide whether he sits out until after the All-Star break with a sprained left shoulder. That prompted someone to ask Larry Brown how the team would survive without him.

“We didn’t survive with him or without him,” Brown said with a laugh, referring to the team’s 14-32 record. “I mean, I’m on life support.”

If Marbury has to sit out until after the break, it would further reduce the possibility of his being traded before the Feb. 23 deadline. But a league official who has had recent conversations with Isiah Thomas said the Knicks are considering trading any player on their roster except Eddy Curry.

Thomas said last year he would trade his mother to improve the team. However, Marbury has more than $57 million remaining on his contract, which lasts through 2009, and a gimpy shoulder.

And making it more difficult are continuing questions about him as a leader and teammate, which surfaced again last week. A team official confirmed Marbury and Quentin Richardson got into a heated argument during a players’ meeting Wednesday and had to be separated, as reported in yesterday’s New York Daily News

Marcus Camby’s signature shoe for And1 will be unveiled during All-Star Weekend. Presumably, playing in at least 50 games a season is no longer considered a prerequisite for a high profile endorsement deal.