Today is without question the most important day of the entire Knicks off-season. This afternoon and independent arbitrator will meet with representatives from the NBA and the counsel of the NBA players union; including Billy Hunter and Jeffery Kessler. The union will be fighting that players who have been waived deserve to maintain their Early Bird Rights and not lose that status once they are claimed by another team. If the arbitrator were to side with the union that would allow the Knicks to re-sign both Lin and Novak for $5.5 million a piece.
The Knicks are not the only team in the league who will be affected by todays decision. The Blazers and Clippers are both hoping that the union gets a favorable decision this afternoon as well as they look to re-sign J.J Hickson and Chauncey Billups respectively. Should the union win the Knicks would then be able to keep their $5.5 mid-level exception as well as their $1.3 million bi-annual exception to sign other free-agents to boost the roster.
If the arbitrator finds the wording in the collective bargaining agreement to be in agreement with the position of the league then the Knicks will most likely lose Novak and use their mid-level exception retaining Lin.
A decision is not expected to be announced this afternoon, but the sooner we find out the better. I cannot stress enough how important this decision will be to the Knicks future. If the union wins the Knicks will easily be able to re-up Lin and Novak and turn their attention to signing a combination of veterans from the likes of Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Lamar Odom. Lets hope for once this organization catches a break and the ruling goes in their favor.