June 13th, 2012. For all that we know this day can go down in Knicks history. Jeremy Lin, and Steve Novak to a lesser extent, will find out their fate on whether or not the Knicks retain their Bird Rights after being claimed off of waivers this past season.
For Lin and Novak, the outcome of this hearing can mean more money, or possibly more years on their next contracts. For the Knicks, Glen Grunwald will find out if he can save the ever important MLE and BAE on two additional players, which would go a long way in improving the current roster to measure up against the new benchmark in the NBA – Miami and Oklahoma City. With a capped out salary situation in New York, the Knicks will be hard pressed to improve their roster without a first round pick and without having the two exceptions to use on the upcoming free agency field.
If the Players Union loses the Bird Rights hearing tomorrow, which according to salary cap expert Larry Coon they should, the Knicks are most likely looking at using their MLE on Lin, and their BAE (~$2M) on Steve Novak. This would mean guys like Lamar Odom, Steve Nash and Raymond Felton are just about out of the equation as possible offseason acquisitions.
IF the Players Union does win the hearing, where waived, but then claimed players retain their Bird Rights with their new teams, then the Knicks offseason rumors are sure to heat up. New York will have money to spend, therefore linking them to just about every free agent on the market. On our end, we won’t start the speculation on possible targets this summer until the final ruling tomorrow, once there is better knowledge of how much the Knicks can possibly spend. Fingers crossed.