The New York Times reports that the NBPA is asking for an arbitrator to define the context in which Bird rights can be used under the new CBA agreement, another lingering issue not defined in the deal thrown together in a month's time last December after the end of the lockout.
The case is about what are known as “Bird rights,” which allow a player to re-sign with his team, without regard to the salary cap. The league contends those rights are lost when a player changes teams through waivers. The union is challenging that interpretation.
via Union Seeks Clarity on Bird Rights - Knicks Could Benefit - NYTimes.com.
This could have huge impacts, most notably for the Knicks. Jeremy Lin would not be re-signable under Bird rights, which would leave them no room to sign anyone else, even the players on roster this season like Steve Novak and J.R. Smith. There's already a good possibility one or both of those players is gone, but without cap room, it's assured.
The case comes down to whether Bird rights expire upon being waived, or clearing waivers. The Times reports that if the arbitrator goes by the letter of the law, the league's interpretation will be upheld and the Knicks are in trouble. The ruling could also impact the Clippers' efforts to re-sign Chauncey Billups.
But the good news is there won't be a lockout over this issue. No real money.