The NBA players union is challenging the interpretation of a new free-agency rule. And if they’re successful the Knicks will have a much better chance of resigning Jeremy Lin this summer, Howard Beck of the New York Times reports.It’s kind of complicated, but here’s the quick explanation:
- There’s this rule that says teams can exceed its salary cap to sign a player who has “Bird Rights.”
- Currently, players that are signed off waives — like Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak — do no have Bird Rights.
- The union is trying to get them Bird Rights — which would allow the Knicks to re-sign Lin and Novak without exhausting their slim salary cap room.
Currently, the Knicks probably won’t be able to sign Lin if another team offers him more than $5 million. But that changes if he has Bird Rights.
The conspiracy theorists will see this as evidence of a pro-New York bias if the rule is overturned. But the union is challenging the interpretation for a very simple reason — making more players eligible for Bird Rights will create a loophole in the salary-cap structure, thus making player salaries go up and up.
If the Knicks are to get Lin and Novak’s Bird Rights, they’ll still have a $5-million exception to use on one other role player.
It’d be huge.
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