The NBA announced the suspension via a press release, which was relayed by Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Dallas' Raymond Felton suspended four games for guilty pleas to gun charges, NBA says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 7, 2014
Under league rules, Felton will be allowed to practice and participate in preseason games. His suspension will begin when the Mavericks open their regular season in October.
“Today we were made aware of Raymond Felton’s suspension," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a statement, per Sports Xchange (via Yahoo). "We also learned that Raymond will be permitted to complete his community service outside the state of New York. The Mavericks are working with Raymond and the court to develop a community service program that will have a positive and lasting impact on North Texas.”
Felton, 30, pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm in a New York court last month. He was sentenced to 500 hours of community service and forced to pay a $5,000 fine, though he avoided jail time and probation.
The former North Carolina star was arrested in February after his estranged wife delivered an unregistered gun owned by Felton. Police alleged at the time Felton was carrying a gun in four different arguments with his wife. New York's strict gun laws left the then-Knicks starter with multiple felony charges, and some initially expected he would spend time in jail.
In 2009, former NFL receiver Plaxico Burress was sentenced to two years in prison after an unregistered firearm discharged and shot him in the thigh. Some highlighted the similarities in their two cases, though Felton's weapon never discharged.
"I demonstrated poor judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions," Felton said. "Moving forward I'm eager to get to Dallas, to start fresh and make a positive impact in the Dallas metropolitan area."
Amid the off-the-court trouble, Felton turned in one of his worst professional seasons. He averaged a career-low 9.7 points and 5.6 assists per game on 39.5 percent shooting and became one of the most oft-derided players in a lost season for the Knicks.
An anonymous league executive labeled him the "worst starting point guard in the NBA" in an interview with SNY.tv's Adam Zagoria.
“Felton is the worst starting point guard in the NBA,” the executive said. “I’d take 10 college point guards and about 30 NBA backups over him right now.”
The Knicks sent Felton to Dallas as part of a multiplayer deal highlighted by center Tyson Chandler and point guard Jose Calderon. Felton was a long-term contract New York insisted the Mavericks take off their books if they wanted to bring back Chandler, who they hope will provide a necessary defensive presence in the middle.
Felton's role next season is yet to be determined. Dallas re-signed Devin Harris and brought in Jameer Nelson this summer to shore up its guard rotation, and Rick Carlisle is known around the league for his creativity juggling lineups. Felton has maintained since his arrival that he's out to prove he can still perform at a high level.
"When you come off a season like I had last year, there's always a point where you've got to prove yourself coming back the next season," Felton told reporters in July. "And trust me, I look forward to it."
Whether he can or cannot remains to be seen. But we know the Mavericks will have to wait until at least the fifth game of the season to find out.
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