NEW YORK — The NBA has reached a settlement with the players union after they filed an arbitration proceeding regarding the signing rights of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin and three other players. The agreement, announced on Friday, allows Lin, Chauncey Billups, J.J. Hickson and Steve Novak to maintain some of their free agent rights. Arbitrator Kenneth Dam’s original decision stated that any club which tries to re-sign a player who was originally claimed off waivers can do so by violating the salary cap. But with the new settlement agreement, the NBA players union agreed to limit the scope of the ruling by Dam if the league agreed to drop its appeal. Players who were claimed off waivers will now have the same “Early Bird” rights as if they had been traded. But they will not have full “Bird” rights unless they are claimed through the league’s amnesty process.
The “Bird” rights are named after NBA legend Larry Bird. Lin and Novak have “Early Bird” rights and Billups and Hickson will have “Bird” rights. Free agency opens on Sunday.