Arbitrator Awards "Bird" Rights to NBA Players Claimed off Waivers

June 22, 2012

In a recent arbitration proceeding brought by the Players Association on behalf of Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, Chauncey Billups, and J.J. Hickson, arbitrator Kenneth Dam ruled that players who are claimed off of waivers have the same "Bird" or "Early Bird" rights that they would have if they were traded.

The ruling is a blow to the zealous wing of "hard cap" NBA owners hell-bent on limiting payroll.

One team that will benefit from the decision is the New York Knicks, who can now go over the cap to sign Lin and Novak, while also retaining the flexibility to bring in additional players via an exception.

During the lockout this past summer, many of the small market owners whined about alleged disadvantages they faced in free agency when competing against the Knicks and Lakers of the basketball world.

However, the 2012 playoffs put much of that nonsensical gibberish to rest, as small market Oklahoma City defeated two big market powers in their Finals run with a roster created simply by shrewd drafting and intelligent personnel moves.

The NBA plans to appeal the ruling.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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