BASKETBALL — 22 May 2012

The Toronto Raptors will reportedly be looking to acquire New York Knicks point guard and soon-to-be restricted free agent, Jeremy Lin.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson is confident that Lin will remain in New York, his agent, however; insists that nothing is set in stone.

Lin will be highly sought after by many teams. The Toronto Raptors would benefit immensely from the draw and marketing power Jeremy Lin brings with him.  It is because of his marketing power that the Knicks will fight hard to retain him; including shelling out lots of money to match the offers he receives from other teams.

Bird rights, named after Indiana Pacers president and former Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, were put in place to allow teams to exceed the salary cap in order to retain franchise-type players. They are typically extended to players who have been on a team for an extended period. Full Bird rights are offered to a player who has been with a team for three or more years and allows them to sign for the league maximum. Partial Bird rights are available after spending two years with a team and allows players to be signed for the league average.

Lin was claimed off waivers and the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) doesn’t address whether players in his situation can earn Bird rights this way.

There are three other players in the league in similar situations; New York Knicks Steve Novak, Los Angeles Clippers Chauncey Billups and Portland Trailblazers J.J Hickson.

If Lin is not awarded Bird rights, it will be near-impossible for the Knicks to try to match a massive offer and avoid luxury-tax penalties.

The Raptors still have salary cap room and will be in a position to offer much more than the Knicks can spend. Under the new CBA the Knicks have only three days to match any official offer.

It is possible that the Knicks will consider the penalties for going over the salary cap as it could be just a small price to pay for Lin and the revenue he generated this season alone.




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