Raymond Felton was already in the midst of one of his worst seasons.
He was averaging a career-low 10.4 points to go with 29.6 percent shooting from behind the 3-point arc. Now the Knicks’ starting point guard is facing charges of 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 will take place on 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.
A bad season just got incredibly worse for Felton. However, indications are that Felton will still be allowed to play.
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.
If you were the Knicks, would you play Felton moving forward?
In my opinion, it’s hard for the NBA or the Knicks to take any action with Felton before he has his day in court. So unless something happens legally before that June 2 court date, Felton could conceivably play out the remainder of the season.
How much of a difference does it make for the Knicks if Felton plays? Well, Felton’s game has nowhere to go but up since he wasn’t playing well to this point. Perhaps he will be even more focused with the court serving as a refuge from his problems.
The Knicks (21-36) are a long shot now to make the playoffs, as they were six games out of the eighth spot entering last night’s games. With 15 of their remaining 25 games on the road, Felton is going to have to play at a high level for the Knicks to make a playoff run.
If the Knicks or the NBA opt to suspend Felton, Mike Woodson would have to move forward with Pablo Prigioni starting at point guard. The coach could let guard J.R. Smith handle the ball for spells, and he could also use Toure' Murry at times. The Knicks also have agreed in principle to a contract with free agent Shannon Brown, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. So when Brown comes on board, he could perhaps handle the ball for small stints, although he is more of a scoring guard.
Bottom line is the Knicks need Felton if they are going to have any hope of making the playoffs. I know, the playoffs are slim at best. But there’s really no other alternative for the Knicks than to play hard and make one last run since they don’t have a first-round pick. Some of you want to see the Knicks develop younger players like Murry, and maybe see what a guy like Brown can do. Considering Woodson is coaching for his job -- his fate for next season could already be decided -- the coach will likely continue to lean on his veterans and not try to develop younger players.
Perhaps Felton will pick up his game, although he certainly has greater things to worry about now than how he’s performing on the court.
Up now: Felton appears in court and is formally charged.
Ian O’Connor says you guys, the fans, don’t deserve this. And the Knicks don’t deserve you guys.
Some of our basketball experts answer five questions about the Knicks, including if they’ve finally hit rock bottom.
If anybody knows what Felton is facing, it’s Plaxico Burress.
Looking to fill two roster spots, the Knicks agree to a deal with forward Earl Clark, according to Ian Begley. And Shannon Brown is on his way too, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
What’s next: The Knicks practice today. We get to hear Woodson’s reaction to the Felton situation.
Question of the Day: If it were up to you, would you continue to let Felton continue to play?