Raymond Felton will play against the Miami Heat on Thursday night, despite his arrest on gun charges Tuesday. The New York Knicks starting point guard was officially charged with one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and one count of criminal possession of a firearm. His wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, is the one responsible for turning him in.
Rumors about whether or not Raymond Felton will play against the Miami Heat on Thursday were swirling throughout the day. The biggest questions surrounded how the NBA would handle an arrest of this nature. If convicted, Felton faces a minimum of three and a half years in prison. No domestic violence charges were filed against him, though the situation apparently stems from a Valentine’s day dispute. Both charges brought against Felton are considered felonies. Although this could be a hindrance in his ability to travel to the Knicks’ game against the Toronto Raptors on April 11th, team sources report that he will play against teams in domestic games.
Knicks practice will most likely be a media circus on Wednesday as he joins the team for the first time following his court appearance on Tuesday. After Felton turned himself in following the team’s last second loss to the Dallas Maverick’s on Monday night, his bail was later set at $25,000. He posted bail and was given an order of protection from his wife. He is expected back in court on June 2nd. The New York Knicks have yet to comment on the situation, though the NBA is keeping a close eye.
Whether or not Raymond Felton will play in the NBA in the future comes down to the message new commissioner Adam Silver wants to send. The NBA Players Union would be adamantly opposed to any disciplinary action brought against Felton by the league or the Knicks. The only precedent in suspensions or discipline coming from an arrest without a conviction is related to gun charges filed against Gilbert Arenas for an incident that took place in a Washington Wizards locker room. Raymond Felton was arrested for a situation that took place no where near an NBA facility.
Separate from the legal implications of these actions is the impact it will have on the team. Much maligned executive James Dolan has allowed the team to slip into an almost impossible situation. As contract buyout season races to a conclusion this week, the Knicks recently released Beno Udrih. That leaves only Pablo Prigioni to provide playing time if Raymond Felton does have to miss games.
Of course, having Felton doesn’t really change much for the team. With an embarrassing 21-36 record and falling out of playoff contention, it may be time for the Knicks to blow it all up. Which is about what they do every season anyways. For now, Raymond Felton will play against the Miami Heat and the rest of the league.