Knicks Fined $200,000 by NBA for Improper Workouts

The New York Knicks were fined $200,000 by the National Basketball Association for holding workouts of college players in violation of league rules, the NBA said today in a statement.

Rodney Heard, the Knicks scout who conducted the workouts in May of 2007 and 2010, was fined $20,000 by the NBA.

NBA rules at the time prohibited teams from holding or attending workouts with draft-eligible college players before the league’s annual pre-draft evaluation camp.

“We will abide by the NBA’s decision and have no further comment,” Knicks spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz said in an e-mailed statement.

Heard, who was hired as the Knicks’ East Coast scouting director by former coach Isiah Thomas in 2006, coordinated improper workouts in Atlanta that may have given the team an advantage in determining whether to draft particular players.

In 2007, Heard held multiple workouts with Wilson Chandler before that year’s pre-draft camp, Yahoo Sports reported in October. The Knicks later drafted Chandler with the 23rd pick. Brandon Rush, who’s now with the Portland Trail Blazers, told Yahoo Sports that he tore a knee ligament during a 2007 workout with Heard that forced him to withdraw from the draft and undergo six months of rehabilitation.

In May 2002, the NBA fined the Cleveland Cavaliers $150,000 for including LeBron James, then a high school junior, in a workout when he wasn’t draft eligible. John Lucas, the Cavaliers’ coach at the time, was suspended for two games.

In June 2005, the Denver Nuggets were fined $200,000 and coach George Karl was suspended for three games for attending workouts that included a player who was ineligible for the draft.

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