The New York Knicks could have some good offseason news in store this summer. The NBA players union is seeking to have the so-called "Bird Rights" clarified by an arbitrator. Knicks guard Jeremy Lin and forward Steve Novak were picked up off of waivers this past season and the union would like to know if these players retain Bird Rights after being taken of waivers.
The case concerns what are known as "Bird rights," which allow a player to re-sign with his team, without regard to the salary cap. The league contends those rights are lost when a player changes teams through waivers. The union is challenging that interpretation. (via NYT)
If the union's side prevails in the case, it would be huge news for the Knicks. Regardless of the salary cap, they would be able to re-sign free agents Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak. New York could also use the mid-level exception (worth $5 million) to keep another player, such as J.R. Smith.
If the union loses, the Knicks might not be able to sign Novak and Smith. In addition, the Knicks certainly would have a hard time trying to sign a high profile free agent such as Steve Nash after re-signing Lin.
The union wants to have this matter settled before free agency opens July 1.