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Jeremy Lin, union wins “Bird rights” arbitration, which is good for Knicks

Jun 22, 2012, 3:45 PM EDT

Injured New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reacts during pregame ceremonies before the Knicks play against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoffs in Miami Reuters

The New York Knicks offseason just got brighter.

In an unexpected decision, an arbitrator ruled for Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak — backed by the NBA players union — saying that players picked up on waivers (like Lin and Novak were) can be re-signed by their team using their “Bird rights” (the rights of a team to go over the salary cap to re-sign its own free agents). The league had argued that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement says once a player went on waivers he forfeited his Bird rights.

“Bird and Early Bird rights are the lynchpin of our soft cap system, and we’re pleased that (the arbiter) Professor Dam recognized that a player does not forfeit these important rights unless he makes an affirmative decision to sign with a new team as a free agent,” NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter said in a released statement?

The league has said it will appeal the ruling.

Why is this ruling good for the Knicks? They can now re-sign Lin for about $5 million and still have a mid-level exception to offer to a free agent player they want to court. Whether that be Steve Nash or whomever.

However, as ESPN salary cap guru Larry Coon pointed out on twitter, don’t look for the Knicks to use their entire $5 million mid-level exception to go after these free agents. If the Knicks re-sign Lin then go over $3 million (the mini mid-level) for a free agent they will trigger a $74 million hard salary cap on themselves that they cannot exceed for any reason. That’s the new rules in this CBA (you get the cap when you use a non-taxpayer exception and it makes you a tax payer). Trigger that hard cap and the Knicks cannot even bring in a player on a veteran minimum deal if it takes them over te $. New York would want no part of that scenario that strips them of their flexibility to adjust the roster in season, so look for them to try to lure a free agent with $3 million.

Still, this gives the Knicks the chance to add a player of quality. Which they need to do because the road to the top of the East now goes through Miami, and that is a tough road to travel.

  1. thenoblefacehumper - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    HUGE news. A rotation of Lin, Shump, Melo, Amar’e, Tyson, J.R., Novak, Nash/Odom/Ray Allen, Fields, and Jeffries could at least have a puncher’s chance at Miami. Obviously countless things would have to go right. But as a Knicks fan, I’m happy about any source of hope.

  2. gmen4life33 - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Yay. Miami still won a ring last night, FML.

    But seriously, this is good news. We can keep Lin/Novak and try to offer Nash/Felton/Crawford 3 million to come play. One of them might like NY enough to say yes

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      I agree, solidifying that PG position is HUGE for us. I think the Iso-Melo offense was a matter of last-resort, we’ll see more rounded offense if we get Nash, ESPECIALLY.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 23, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        League is rigged to benefit the Knicks. I can’t watch it anymore. I’m done.

        Just kidding.

        Miami Heat
        World Champions!!!!!!


  3. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 22, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Good news for us. We can exceed the cap to sign Lin and Novak, don’t have to use the MLE for either. JR is coming back, and we can try to lure Nash or Felton with the MLE.

    • knightrider1755 - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      Don’t see a future HOF like Nash accepting $3mil to play for the Knicks. Nash is nearing the end of his career and can hitch on to a team that has a chance of winning a championship. Overweight Felton might be the answer for that amount.

  4. zidanevalor - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Why is the league appealing this ruling? Why does the NBA not want players picked up on waivers to have “Bird Rights”?

    More specifically, what does the league have to gain from waived players not having “Bird Rights”?

    I’m not trying to be sarcastic; it’s a legitimate question I would like to know the answer to if someone else knows the answer. Thanks.

    • beagle11 - Jun 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      I head SAS saying it costs the owners more money some how and they may appeal the ruling.

      • beagle11 - Jun 22, 2012 at 8:40 PM

        I actually heard it… I didn’t head it

  5. cantonbound13 - Jun 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Not 1 , not 2, not3….

  6. newyorkfootballjets - Jun 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Lin and b. davis work for me other than nash coming to town, but i dont care for crawford or felton how about a back up for amare when he get injured again maybe taj gibson if he is available

    • stoudemelo - Jun 23, 2012 at 4:12 AM

      I feel like I got dumber after this comment. Clearly zero knowledge of free agency or the fact Baron won’t be back.

      Go hang out in a delusional Jets fans message board

  7. dysraw1 - Jun 22, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    the future just got brighter i wanna see some good moves made by the orange & blue this summer, bird rights are for the protection of the player than an advantage for the owners but in my mind if a player is on board for the majority of the season they should be protected

  8. beagle11 - Jun 22, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    If Steve Nash comes to NY, Lin will have to be his back up. You can’t have them in the same line up defensively. Can you even imagine what Nash, Lin, Melo and Amare would look like on defense??

    • knightrider1755 - Jun 23, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Yep. Horrible.

  9. jolink653 - Jun 24, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    priorities should be nash #1 and then felton #2 in terms of free agent point guard targets…crawford is another scorer and scoring is not the problem with this team…i wouldn’t touch lamar odom with a ten foot pole and ray allen doesn’t really fit for what this team needs…we already have the best 3 point shooter in the league in novak and allen can’t create off the ball anymore….if they could somehow swing a nash deal it would be incredible because he’d bring that missing piece to make this offense so much better and lin would also be able to learn directly from the best in the game

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