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NBA Analysis: Impact of 'Bird Rights' Decision on New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin

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Arbitrator Kenneth Dam’s recent decision to side with the NBAPA against the NBA in declining to reset the bird rights clock for players claimed off waivers was a coup for the Knicks. If it stands on appeal, the Knicks will be able to match any offer for Jeremy Lin, and likely Steve Novak too, while potentially still retaining the ability to use their full midlevel exception of $5,000,000 per season.

If the Knicks do use their full midlevel exception, the strictures of the new collective bargaining agreement will impose a hard cap at $74,000,000, which the team could not exceed this season under any circumstance. Alternatively, the Knicks can offer the “mini-midlevel” of $3,000,000, and exceed the salary cap to sign veteran minimum players, if necessary. Keep in mind that teams are required to have 12 players on their active roster, and 1 on their inactive roster.

With some help today from @JADubin5, @JonKnicksFan, and, previously, @bnr1986 and @sbs0311, I’ve fleshed out a couple of scenarios for your consideration:

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Both of these scenarios contain a few assumptions, and here they are:

* Under scenario 2 there is no way the Knicks can keep Landry Fields because the minimum contract amount for 2 year veterans will not fit under the hard-cap. Instead the Knicks would have to fill their roster with undrafted rookies.

**This scenario assumes that J.R. Smith opts out and the Knicks do not bring him back. It also assumes that the Knicks find a team willing to take Toney Douglas (and probably cash) in return for a trade exception. Both of these assumptions are dicey but without them, it’s pretty much impossible for the Knicks to be able to utilize the full MLE.

***The salary figures for Carmelo Anthony (and the rest of the roster) come from Sham Sports. But it’s worth noting that HoopsHype lists Carmelo’s contract at about a $1,000,000 less than Sham Sports does. If HoopsHype is correct, then the Knicks would be able to retain Landry Fields, and for more than his minimum.

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Get more great NBA analysis over at KnicksFan.


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