The Knicks have tried desperately to escape their recent past, but it comes back to haunt them again and again.
The latest — a Knicks scout and confidant of Isiah Thomas has run improper pre-draft workouts for the past four years, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
Knicks director of East Coast scouting Rodney Heard coordinated and conducted the sessions, three players who were involved in some of the workouts told Yahoo! Sports – including one May 2007 session that resulted in a devastating knee injury to Kansas All-American Brandon Rush(notes). A tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in Rush’s right knee forced him to withdraw from the 2007 draft and required surgery plus six months of rehabilitation.
In addition to the Rush session – which was an apparent violation of NBA bylaws forbidding teams from working out players before the annual predraft camp – Heard may have broken more rules by conducting predraft workouts with additional players during restricted time periods in 2007 and for excessive sessions in 2009 and 2010.
That goes up through this year with workouts involving Ekpe Udoh and Tory Jackson (a Notre Dame player who went undrafted) according to the report.
Heard denied everything, saying it was all lies (but the report has multiple people at these workouts saying they did take place). Thomas could not be reached for comment. Current team president Donnie Walsh denied all knowledge of these workouts.
This is big.
The league is going to investigate itself, but this report lays out the path and the people to talk to and will likely lead to some kind of sanctions against the Knicks. There have been front office suspensions and lost draft picks in the past, on much smaller incidents.
This could lead to the forfeiting of draft picks the Knicks have. And they don’t have those to spare thanks to Thomas, who traded away so many that the Knicks can’t trade a pick until 2014.
The Knicks do have a first rounder this season (they can’t trade it because you can’t trade first round picks in consecutive years) and that is the kind of thing that could be forfeited under penalties, further setting back rebuilding efforts.
Two steps up and one step back for the Knicks.