Knicks plan to play Raymond Felton despite gun charges

Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton will be in the lineup as usual on Thursday.
Credit: Getty Images

Knicks point guard Raymond Felton may be in hot water with the New York legal system, but the only thing he’s concerning himself with right now is the Miami Heat.

Felton, who was arrested early Tuesday morning on felony gun possession charges and arraigned in Manhattan before being released on $25,000 bail, addressed the media throng following Wednesday’s practice session, but declined to discuss his legal issues.

“I want to start off by saying thank you to my teammates, thank you to the fans, to my family, to my friends [and] everybody for their support in this situation. Now, as far as speaking about what’s going on off the court with me, it will be a no comment speaking on that,” Felton said, declining to answer any questions. “I’m here to concentrate on this team, finish this season out with the New York Knicks and see what happens. … Just trying to make it to the playoffs.”

Head coach Mike Woodson went a similar route, declining to get into the specifics about Felton’s off-court plight.

“I don’t know a whole lot about what happened, [or] the situation he’s going through. When things creep in like this, it’s a surprise, but we gotta get through it. I don’t know the legal side and the seriousness of it, though,” Woodson said. “But at the end of the day he’s a part of the New York Knick family, and I’m going to support him and try to get him back on track.”

Woodson also doesn’t feel as if Felton’s situation will be too much of a distraction.

“I spoke to him last night and I think he’s committed and focused. I thought today when he came in he was on board in terms of what we were trying to get accomplished in practice today, so I think that’s not going to be an issue. I’ve just got to get him ready to go for tomorrow. We’ve got a big game in Miami,” said Woodson. “You are always surprised when something happens within your family. But again, I don’t know the dynamics of it. I don’t know where we go from today. But at the end of the day Ray is still a part of the Knicks family and he is still wearing a uniform, and it is my job to make sure that he is mentally and physically ready to play basketball. … That’s what I am going to continue to do.”

Woodson also said he never gave any thought toward benching Felton or keeping him out of the lineup until everything is resolved. The coach said he and his staff are simply taking a business-as-usual approach and adding that whoever is physically available to take on the Heat will be on the floor.

Felton was seen on the practice floor on Wednesday looking as if it was business as usual, running the pick-and-roll with center Tyson Chandler. Felton vowed his arrest and marital situation would not be a distraction to him or the team, and Chandler vouched for that after watching his point guard conduct himself in practice.

The center also said he hasn’t talked with his point guard about his issues.

“Honestly, I don’t think that’s any of my business. My concern is [with] him as an individual, as a friend, teammate, brother and [when] when he’s ready to play basketball, go out there and fight with him,” said Chandler. “He seemed like he was no different than when I saw him at the [Mavericks] game [Monday night]. He seemed very focused, very attentive to what was going on as far as our game plan for Miami. … Like I said, if it wasn’t for all the media, I wouldn’t know what was going on.”

Court is adjourned in Felton’s case until June 2, at which point grand jury action will take place.

Knicks notes …

» Carmelo Anthony was not with the team Wednesday, as the team cited personal reasons. Anthony will be available for the Heat game, though.

» The Knicks are rumored to be close to free agent deals with forward Earl Clark and guard Shannon Brown. Neither has been officially signed but a team official noted they’re close and both could be in uniform by Thursday night’s matchup in Miami.

» Chandler said he was so spent following Monday night’s buzzer-beating loss to the Mavericks that he turned off all his devices and went to bed, adding he didn’t even learn of Felton’s arrest until the following morning when he woke up and checked his phone.

» Woodson sounded almost like a beaten man when discussing all the team’s plights.

“When you go back at the very beginning, coming out of camp, we were beat up,” said Woodson. “[Then] the suspension with J.R. [Smith]. … I mean, it’s been a lot. It’s been a roller-coaster ride for our ball club.”

» Mavericks swingman Vince Carter actually stood up for Smith when asked by the team’s local reporters about Smith’s prank of trying to pull Carter’s headband over his eyes during the fourth quarter of Monday’s game.

“What’s the drama?” said Carter. “It was just funny to me. … J.R.’s a good friend.”

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


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