“I want to start off by saying thank you to my teammates, thank you to the fans, to my family, to my friends, everybody for their support in this situation,” Felton, who did not take questions, told a large group of media at the Knicks’ training facility.
“This is not a distraction to this team. I’m focusing on finishing out this season, finishing out these games with my teammates. And, um, going down to Miami, focusing on this next game at task versus the defending champs. As far as speaking on what’s going on off the court with me, there will be no comment. Speaking on that. If you’ve got any questions, anything dealing with that, speak with my lawyer. But other than that, I’m here to concentrate on this team, finish this season out with the New York Knicks. And see what happens, man. Trying to make it to the playoffs.We’re 5 1/2 games out, 25 games left so I’m really focusing on that with these guys, with the team and trying to make that happen.”
As first reported Tuesday evening by SNY and The Knicks Blog, Felton was arraigned on two counts of weapons possession because he allegedly had 18 rounds of ammunition loaded inside an FNH model 5.7 X 28 millimeter caliber semiautomatic pistol in his Manhattan apartment. He was freed on $25,000 bail.
The attorney for his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Ariane Raymondo-Felton, turned it into police after alleging that Felton used the gun to “intimidate” her during domestic disputes, according to a report in the New York Post.
Felton was fortunate that he was not charged with menacing his wife, a Class C felony that mandates a minimum of 3 1/2 years in prison with a maximum of 15.
“Class D and E felonies, in contrast, each carry a minimum of one year behind bars, but a judge has discretion to impose a lesser sentence,” explained legal expert Michael McCann in an SI.com piece. “The net result is that Felton may be able to avoid jail time, especially if his attorneys can work out a plea deal.”
Felton will continue to play with the Knicks until his next court date, set for June. 2. Head coach Mike Woodson said Felton would play Thursday in Miami.
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony was not at practice Wednesday because of “personal reasons,” but Tyson Chandler said he hasn’t discussed the situation with Felton because “I don’t feel that’s any of my business.”
“My concern is him as an individual, teammate, friend, brother,” Chandler said. “And then is he ready to go out and play basketball and go out and fight with us.”
Like Felton, Chandler insisted the situation — fodder for the back pages of the tabloids — wasn’t a distraction for a team that is 21-36 and 5 1/2 games back of the No. 8 seed in the East.
“Honestly, it wasn’t much of a distraction in there [on the court],” Chandler said. “When you come in here and it’s all this media and all this attention, then yeah that can be a distraction.
“But once you’re between those lines and we’re in kind of our safe haven, there’s no distractions, it’s just basketball.”
Adam Zagoria covers the New York Knicks and Big East hoops for NBA.com and SNY.tv. He also appears as a Big East Basketball Insider on SNY and 1050 ESPN Radio. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.