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Knicks investigated for alleged illegal workouts

New York Knicks' Wilson Chandler (21) goes to

New York Knicks' Wilson Chandler (21) goes to the basket in front of Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche (7) during the second quarter. (Feb. 26, 2010) Credit: AP

TORONTO - The NBA is investigating the Knicks for allegedly holding illegal workouts with college players before the NBA draft.

According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, Rodney Heard, the Knicks' director of East Coast scouting, "coordinated and conducted . . . secret workouts of collegiate players throughout gymnasiums in suburban Atlanta."

The report quotes two players who say they were involved in the workouts, including current Indiana Pacers guard Brandon Rush, who injured his knee in one of the sessions in 2007.

The injury forced Rush, a projected lottery pick, to return to college rather than opt for the draft that year. He was the 13th overall pick by the Pacers out of Kansas in the 2008 draft.

Wilson Chandler, whom the Knicks selected at No. 23 in 2007, was also named as a player who was involved in the workouts. Chandler could not be reached for comment last night.

The Knicks released a statement Tuesday that said, "The NBA is looking into the matter and we will fully cooperate and defer all comment to them." A league spokesman told Newsday that the NBA "will be investigating these allegations."

According to the report, Heard denied he was in the gym during the workouts, despite contradictions from two players, Rush and Tory Jackson. Heard said he was in team meetings in Florida.

If the league discovers evidence to support the Yahoo! Sports report, the Knicks could be subject to a fine. There has not been a situation in recent years when the league has ordered a team to forfeit a draft pick for a prior draft-related offense.

The Dolan family owns

controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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