Rodney Heard Rumors
In that instance, here’s a possible reason for the way the NBA never acted dutifully on its flagship franchise. The scout responsible for running those workouts? Rodney Heard. How did Heard get into the NBA? Jackson, as general manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies, hired him. Rival teams were always suspicious Heard conducted those illicit workouts on the Grizzlies payroll, too. If Rush told me about blowing out his knee as a Kansas undergraduate with the Knicks conducting an illegal workout – and then hiding it – wouldn’t he have also told league investigators the same had they pulled him into their Manhattan offices and demanded the truth?
Heard did not have his contract renewed as the Knicks’ East Coast scouting director, sources said. After league investigators corroborated details from a October 2010 Yahoo! Sports report that uncovered years of illegal workouts, the NBA fined Heard $20,000 and the Knicks $200,000 earlier this year.
The bigger question is, who would be that successor? Allan Houston, the assistant GM, may make a good front man one day and recently- hired Mark Warkentien has the proven ability to handle the behind-the-scenes work. But you have to believe Houston and Warkentien would prefer to have Walsh around to oversee and advise, if anything just to figure out what do to with all these people — Glen Grunwald, John Gabriel, Misho Ostarcevic, Jamie Mathews, Mark Hughes and, of course, Rodney Heard — in the front office.
The Knicks were notified of the punishment Wednesday. The fines are expected to be announced later Thursday afternoon. The punishments stem from workouts conducted by Heard in Atlanta in May 2007 and May 2010. Heard, who has been with the club since 2006, was promoted to East Coast scouting director in 2008. The punishment is generally in line with previous cases that involved violations of draft workout rules, although some team executives had expected the Knicks to be forced to forfeit future draft picks as part of any punishment.
The N.B.A. has fined the Knicks $200,000 and one of their scouts $20,000 after concluding that the scout, Rodney Heard, conducted workouts of college prospects that violated league rules, according to two people made aware of the league’s actions.
Significantly, Thomas, who now coaches at Florida International University, was not cited by the N.B.A. in the penalties it handed down. Had the league singled him out, and tried to punish him as well, it might have affected his ability to rejoin the Knicks at some point in the future, something he clearly is interested in doing. As of now, he remains eligible to rejoin the Knicks’ front office if he leaves his job as a college coach. The Knicks attempted to hire Thomas as a part-time consultant last summer while he remained the coach at F.I.U., but were then informed by the N.B.A. that they could not do so because of the conflict it created.