Hearing soon on Lin, Novak 'Bird rights'
According to a source close to the situation, the NBA and Players Association have agreed that June 13 will be the date of the union's appeal regarding the "Bird rights" of Lin, Novak, Clippers guard Chauncey Billups and Blazers forward J.J. Hickson. The arbitrator for the case has not been revealed yet.
All four players were waived last year and the union believes they are entitled to Bird rights, which allow teams to exceed the cap in order to re-sign their own free agents. In the cases of Lin and Novak, the union is seeking the restoration of their "early Bird rights."
It's not expected the arbitrator will rule on that day, but his decision should come shortly thereafter. The matter will be settled before the start of free agency July 1 and in all likelihood before the June 28 NBA draft.
Winning this appeal will be difficult for the union since the rules of the CBA state that to be eligible for Bird rights, players can't be waived or change teams as a free agent. But the Knicks are hoping for a union victory.
If Lin and Novak are granted their early Bird rights, the Knicks can give them up to 104.5 percent of the average salary or about $5.5 million and they'll still be able to use their midlevel exception and lower-level exception for other free agents.
If the union loses its appeal, Lin, who will be a restricted free agent, still won't be able to get more than the average salary. But the Knicks would have to use the $5-million midlevel exception to retain him.
The Knicks plan to match all offers for Lin.
Keeping Novak, an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, won't be easy if all the Knicks can give him is the $1.9-million lower-level exception.
'Linsanity' is Jeremy's
"Linsanity" belongs to Jeremy Lin. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has registered the term for Lin, who in February moved to take control of the catchphrase that encapsulated his meteoric rise from undrafted player to starter.
Lin's filing Feb. 13 came six days after a California man with no ties to the Knicks guard became the first to apply for a Linsanity trademark. A second filing was made Feb. 9 and another Feb. 14.-- Bloomberg
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.