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Knicks' Felton faces potential jail time for unlicensed firearm

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The New York Knicks had enough of a disastrous season before Feb. 25. Yet the newest problem the Knicks face goes beyond wins, and mostly losses. Of course, it is even more serious for Raymond Felton, who faces potential prison time after his arrest for allegedly violating New York's strict gun laws.

Felton was released on $25,000 bail on Feb. 25, after being arranged on two felony weapon possession charges. They resulted from Felton's wife, who filed for divorce last week, turning in an unlicensed handgun he allegedly kept in their home. Because it is unlicensed with a 20-round magazine -- which supposedly had 18 rounds loaded at the time it was turned in -- he was charged with third degree criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm.

Flashbacks of Plaxico Burress were easily stoked by this arrest, as Felton is now the latest New York athlete to run afoul of the city's tough gun laws. However, Felton kept his alleged unlicensed weapon in his home, whereas Burress brought his to a nightclub and accidentally shot himself in 2008 -- before receiving 20 months in prison for it.

Burress's legal trouble ended his season, put his career on hold, and derailed the New York Giants' efforts for a second straight Super Bowl. Felton will still get to play for the Knicks at the moment, at least until the case plays out. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they seem unlikely to fight off this distraction by winning, as they have been 21-36 with and without Felton this season.

Felton's next court date isn't until June 2, so he should be able to play the rest of the season if nothing else comes out. However, his future beyond that -- in every sense of the word -- is now in question, since his two charges are punishable by a combined, maximum 11 year sentence. But until the case is settled, the NBA and the Knicks can't take action against him merely for being arrested.

Unless there are any new developments, Felton should be able to play for the Knicks when they visit the Miami Heat on Feb. 27. He wouldn't return to play in New York until the next night, when the Golden State Warriors visit.



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