The ever topsy-turvy Knicks season took another unexpected turn on Tuesday with Raymond Felton’s gun charges.
After turning himself into police early Tuesday morning, Felton appeared in court and was charged with one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and one count of criminal possession of a firearm.
Each is considered a felony in New York state. Felton’s case was adjourned until June 2. He was handed a six-month order of protection from his estranged wife, bail set at $25,000, and there are no legal restrictions from traveling.
While nothing else is definitive, let’s take a look at what this all means from a basketball perspective:
What's next?: The NBA is monitoring the Felton situation. New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has his first controversy to deal with, and we will see how he handles it.
My guess is the NBA likely won't take any action regarding the Knicks point guard, unless he is found guilty on any of the counts he’s facing. But we will have to see.
If the NBA doesn’t suspend Felton, the Knicks could opt to take action, but that doesn’t seem likely since Felton’s case against those counts hasn’t taken place yet.
ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley reports that Felton is expected to practice on Wednesday and play against Miami on Thursday, barring unforeseen punishment from the NBA or Knicks, according to a league source.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson is expected to meet with reporters on Wednesday, and perhaps some players also will talk.
What it means for Felton: Felton was already in the midst of a bad season, averaging a career-low 10.4 points to go with 29.6 percent shooting from 3-point land.
Felton has had a tumultuous time off the court, clearly. And now Felton has to worry about what his future holds.
In the meantime, if the NBA and the Knicks opt to let him play against the Heat and moving forward, Felton has nowhere to go but up as far as his play is concerned. Perhaps he will find refuge from his problems on the court. With his court date taking place in June, Felton could conceivably play the entire season out.
But even if he is allowed to play, Felton’s future after this season is murky at best. Felton is slated to earn $3.6 million this season and $3.7 million next season. He has a player option for $3.9 million in 2015-16.
What it means for the Knicks: Certainly the Felton situation is an embarrassment for the franchise, and owner James Dolan can’t be pleased.
If Felton is later found guilty, the Knicks could look into ways of getting out of Felton’s contract. They already were reportedly trying to trade him before the trading deadline.
Pablo Prigioni may become even more important to the Knicks if Felton struggles even more on the court and with the uncertainty surrounding Felton's future.
In a season full of reality-television drama, Felton’s gun charges marks the low point of the season. The Knicks (21-36) were six games out of the eighth spot entering Monday's game, and their starting point guard now has legal problems.
With 15 of their remaining 25 games on the road, making the playoffs might be harder for the Knicks than clearing cap space and luring another star to play for them this summer.
Perhaps the Knicks will rally around Felton and somehow play better. Who knows? It’s been a wacky season already. Either way, free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony has to be wondering what else could possibly go wrong in this disastrous season.