The Knicks aren’t out of the water.
After winning the NBPA won their ruling against the league in the arbitration casegranting Bird rights to players waived, it was thought that the Knicks would be in a position to re-sign Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak using their Bird rights, saving their mid-level exception for another addition. But that assumes that the case is done and over with. Guess who’s filing an appeal? Your old buddy David Stern!
According to a league official, Stern’s plan to appeal the union’s victory in the Jeremy Lin/Steve Novak Bird rights war may carry over into the July 1 start of free agency. That would delay the Knicks’ ability to negotiate for any free agent and create a public-relations nightmare for Stern, whose office is in midtown.
Tomorrow, both sides will start talks concerning setting up an appeal panel in Stern’s attempt to overturn arbitrator Kenneth Dam’s decision. One possible resolution is having the appeal process occur but still allowing Novak and Lin to have their Bird rights this summer.
Oh, that could turn out badly for the Knicks. It was a surprise to many legal experts when the union won the case. If the appeal doesn’t hold up after the Knicks have already re-signed Novak and Lin using Bird rights, then what happens? Are the contracts void? Do they lose Novak and Lin due to already having signed someone else using the Mid-level exception?
This is kind of a sticky wicket for the Knicks, and it has huge implications for their future. They thought it was over, that everything worked out nicely.
Not so much.