Now Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak and the Knicks wait.
The hearing to determine whether Lin and Novak would be granted their “Early Bird Rights” was held this morning and lasted into the afternoon. A decision is expected by July 1, which is the start of free agency, but some expect it will come before that.
The Knicks are hoping the union wins the appeal. Novak attended the appeal and tweeted, "A decision in about 2 weeks"
If the arbitrator rules for the union, the Knicks can pay Lin, a restricted free agent, and Novak, who is unrestricted, up to roughly $5.5 million for the 2012-13 season without having to use any of their free-agent exceptions.
The Knicks could then use the midlevel exception and lower-level exception to sign other free agents.
They need backcourt help and the full midlevel could be helpful in signing a veteran point or shooting guard. Among the crop of free-agent guards this offseason are Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Raymond Felton and Ray Allen.
If the league wins, as NBA commissioner David Stern expects them to, the Knicks will likely give some or all of their midlevel exception to retain Lin. The Knicks have said repeatedly they would match any offers for Lin.
If the Knicks are left with only the $1.9 million lower-level exception that may not be enough to keep Novak, who could sign with another team for more.
It will be a difficult case to win since the Collective Bargaining Agreement states to have your “Bird Rights” or “Early Bird Rights” you can’t be waived or signed with another team. Lin was waived twice last season and Novak once before they signed with the Knicks.
The union’s argument is a player should not lose his Bird rights if he is waived and picked up by another team.