Pending a possible appeal by the league office, the players union has won a "complete victory" from the arbitrator in a challenge to the NBA's interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement rule.
The union sought to ensure that teams that acquire players via the waiver claim process would retain the same Bird rights as when those players are acquired via trade. The NBA argued that a player's Bird rights should be re-set at the time of the waiver claim.
The ruling could have the strongest impact on the off-season plans of the Knicks, who would not have to use any of their signing exceptions to retain Jeremy Lin or Steve Novak.
Also helped by the ruling would be Chauncey Billups and J.J. Hickson, whose rights would remain with the Clippers and Trail Blazers, respectively.
The NBA reportedly plans to appeal the ruling, which would create uncertainty over the impending free agency of the affected players. The CBA dictates that an arbitrator's decision will not take effect until any appeals process runs its course.