NEW YORK — The Knicks came out winners again Friday in the arbitration case involving Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak’s free agency after the NBA and the players’ union reached a settlement and the league dropped its appeal of arbitrator Kenneth Dam’s ruling.
Lin and Novak, who were acquired by New York through waiver claims, will have “Early Bird” rights that will allow the Knicks to exceed the salary cap to re-sign them.
In essence, it means New York can use its $5 million mid-level exception on any of the 150 free agents on the market and still match any offer that Novak and/or Lin receive.
The case also involved the Bird rights of Chauncey Billups of the Clippers and J.J. Hickson or the Trail Blazers. Both of those players will retain full Bird rights.
The NBA had argued that a player’s Bird rights were no longer in effect once a player was claimed off waivers, but the arbitrator disagreed.
Under the settlement, the union agreed to limit the scope of the ruling in exchange for the league’s agreement to drop its
appeal. The rule will now be that players who are claimed from waivers will have the same “Early Bird” rights as if they had been traded, but will not have full “Bird” rights unless they are claimed through the league’s amnesty procedure.