Lin Granted Early-Bird Rights
However, the N.B.A. intends to appeal the ruling, according to a person informed of the league’s thinking, which leaves in doubt what Lin’s rights will be when free agency opens.
The arbitrator, Kenneth Dam, issued his ruling Friday, siding with the National Basketball Players Association, which challenged the N.B.A.’s interpretation of the rules under the collective bargaining agreement. Dam handed the union a complete victory in the ruling.
The ruling means that both Lin and Steve Novak of the Knicks would be able to re-sign with the team without respect to the salary cap, for a starting salary around $5 million each. Just as critically, it means that the Knicks would not need to use their midlevel exception to sign either player, which would allow them to use that slot for another free agent.