An NBA investigation concluded that some New York Knicks staffers had been conducting illegal workouts with potential draft picks and fined the team $200,000, according to the New York Times. Rodney Heard, the scout in question, has been fined $20,000.
While that’s a fairly steep fine the Knicks did not lose any draft picks, which would be far more painful a punishment to the rebuilding franchise. Also there was no suspension of a coach, which also has happened in the past in similar situations.
While these workouts started under Isiah Thomas’ watch back in 2007 at least — and were done by a confidant of his — the league did not single Thomas out for punishment. For Knicks fans who like to worry, that means there is no impediment to Thomas being rehired by the Knicks. Well, other than logic. But no legal impediment.
The original story was broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo this past summer. It was that Heard, the Knicks director of East Coast scouting, conducted a number of workouts for draft picks before any predraft camps (a violation of league rules). That includes the one in May 2007 when then Kansas All-American Brandon Rush blew out his knee and needed surgery.
That report said illegal workouts had continued up through the most recent draft. Knicks GM Donnie Walsh has denied any knowledge of the workouts and Heard had been sidelined by the franchise.
The $200,000 fine falls in line with what was levied on other organizations that attended or conducted illegal workouts in the last decade.