Wojnarowski reports that Heard conducted secret workouts in gyms throughout Atlanta, Georgia, citing players involved as sources. Some workouts came prior to the annual pre draft camp, which was prohibited by the league, while others came in excess of the two sessions allowed in a three-day period. Heard denied all accusations, as did team president Donnie Walshm but several players mentioned Heard by name as the leader of the workouts including Brandon Rush of the Indiana Pacers.
During the summer of 2007 Rush tore his ACL and covered up the true manner in which it happened. While he said for years that it occurred during a pick-up game in Kansas City, it actually occurred in Atlanta while working out for Heard.
“I heard some guys were down there in Atlanta working out and I thought it would be best for me to go there and try some stuff out,” said Rush. “I went down to Atlanta and I was supposed to be there for a week. It happened the first day, in the first 15 minutes. I went down but then I got back up and was running the court. And I couldn’t get stable on it. It was really wobbly. I went to the hospital and they said they didn’t know what to do. They couldn’t run an MRI on me. Then I had to fly back to Kansas City the next day. The seat they gave me on the plane was way too small, so the knee was getting real cramped and it started blowing up real fat.”
Rush covered up the story to keep his college eligibility intact, which could cost Kansas the 2008 National Championship that he helped them win after undergoing six months of rehabilitation.
The other major issue at hand is the competitive advantage that the Knicks got by Heard having far more access to prospective draftees than other teams in the league. Heard was also accused of spending several weeks in May of 2007 training with eventual Knicks’ draft pick Wilson Chandler, who curiously cancelled all workouts with other teams during the time when they were permissible. Chandler was projected to be a second round pick, but the Knicks took him 23rd overall and watched him grow into a starter last season. This is a unique situation because there has never been a case in the league previously that included multiple violations over such an extended-period of time.
This is the kind of thing that the league will not take kindly to at all. If true, the Knicks can expect some serious sanctions that include hefty fines, suspensions and possible loss of draft picks. The NCAA could hand out penalties as well. This was supposed to be the year where the Knicks started on the road back to prominence, but Heard’s actions could end up being a major roadblock down the line.
Must Repeat: If true, the Knicks can expect some serious sanctions that include hefty fines, suspensions and possible loss of draft picks. This is the last thing we as a young team need! Let’s hope it’s not true!