Blog Entry

How should the NBA punish the Knicks?

Posted on: October 26, 2010 2:50 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:06 pm
 
The New York Knicks reportedly made repeated illegal contact with college players. Assuming the allegations are true, whatdavid-stern  punishment from the NBA is appropriate? Posted by Ben Golliver Earlier, we noted a Yahoo! Sports report  that quotes multiple players saying that they illegally worked out with a New York Knicks scout prior to the draft period.  Surely, executives and scouts throughout the NBA work the corners of the permissible contact guidelines, looking to achieve the slightest of competitive advantages by improving their intel on draft-eligible players. Stories are told about this or that executive watching a workout that he wasn't supposed to, and the NBA has already levied large fines and suspensions in the past in the most innocuous of cases, including Denver Nuggets coach George Karl sitting in on a workout that included his own son Coby . But there are a number of aspects to the Yahoo! report that should lead NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league office to throw the book at the Knicks, assuming the allegations are true.
  • First, the repeated contact. By illegally contacting multiple players over multiple years, the Knicks can't plead ignorance or "this was a one time thing". The allegations reveal a pattern of illegal behavior, which violates not only the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement but also even the most minimal attempt at fair play. The result is a serious black eye for the league and 29 other ticked off teams.
  • Second, allegations of contact with a player the team eventually drafted. A bad situation for the Knicks gets infinitely worse here because it involves Wilson Chandler, a player the team drafted after he was illegally worked out and who continues to play for the Knicks today. By contacting Chandler before the 2007 draft as alleged, the Knicks not only received a competitive advantage during the draft process, they continued to benefit from that competitive advantage every time he plays a game. While Chandler might not be a star player, he's averaged double figures over the course of a three-year career with the Knicks. Are we really supposed to believe there was no connection between the workouts and the eventual draft pick? Chandler's selection implicates Knicks management (and potentially its ownership and coaching staff, basically anyone that was in the draft war room) in this mess, undercutting any "rogue scout" excuse.
  • Third, the fact that Brandon Rush was injured during one of the illegal workouts, and apparently lied to his college coaches about the circumstances surrounding the injury, doesn't help matters. While Rush says no one told him to lie, and that may very well be true, his conduct speaks to the willfulness of his participation in the illegal contact. Rush, on some level, knew that what he was doing was wrong, or at least wasn't 100% right. That's a huge slippery slope for the league office, who is tasked with protecting the best interests of players during the draft process and ensuring competitive balance for all 30 teams.  
Taken together -- the repeated nature of the illegal contact, capitalizing on the competitive advantage by drafting a player that was illegally worked out, and the fact that the workouts included players who understood to some degree that they were not legitimate -- the league office has a very, very serious situation on its hands.  If everything sticks, Stern has little choice here. Unless he puts his foot down, and hard, he sends a message to 30 competitive GMs and 30 competitive scouting departments that there are rules, but they don't really matter. With that message comes all sorts of other messages: we don't truly care about protecting our (future) players, we don't care if the draft process is fair, we don't care if you flaunt our rules over and over again.  That is all bad, a horrible look for the NBA, a league that has dealt with fair play accusations in the recent past thanks to the Tim Donaghy scandal. Surely, the league will conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations. If everything comes back as reported, I would expect the Knicks to be in Joe Smith territory. Roughly 10 years ago , the Minnesota Timberwolves were levied a seven-figure fine and stripped of multiple first-round draft picks for reaching an illegal contract agreement with Smith. What the Knicks did here, particularly with Chandler, is much closer to what the Timberwolves did with Smith than what George Karl did with his son: illegal action that was repeated, beneficial and willful.  A seven-figure fine and the loss of multiple first-round draft picks (although the Knicks have done a nice job of stripping themselves of picks by trading them away) seems appropriate. The NBA draft process simply can't turn into the wild, wild west.
Comments

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: October 27, 2010 3:32 pm
 

How should the NBA punish the Knicks?

Wow...the only place I think you could find more incompetence than in the Knicks front office is in politics.

How can you cheat and still be as bad as they are??? lol



Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: October 26, 2010 4:35 pm
 

How should the NBA punish the Knicks?

Haven't the Knicks punished themselves over this same time period? It's one thing to try and gain an unfair advantage, it is wrong but they IMO aren't the only ones playing outside the lines.

Its more of a punishment to the fans which had to endur this over the last few years, find out they were cheating and STILL have a lousy team. Charge them some money, cut back on their visits to college players for 3 years to even the playing field, but Knick fans need the 1st round picks to give them hope for the future. Or Carmello Anthony.



Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2010 3:14 pm
 

How should the NBA punish the Knicks?

Big fine & loss of at least 1 1st rounder at the very least.  There is too much tampering with players, especially college kids, going on these days


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