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Bird Rights Hearing Over, Decision Expected Soon

6:50pm: Zwerling clarifies via Twitter that Steve Novak didn't testify at today's hearing, so it seems he was merely in attendance.

3:00pm: Today's hearing on the Bird Rights for players claimed off waivers is over, tweets Al Iannazzone of Newsday. A ruling on the issue will happen before the July 1st free agent period gets underway, with Steve Novak of the Knicks tweeting today that he expects a decision in about two weeks.

Novak was a surprise attendee at the arbitration hearing, testifying in support of the players' union, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman reports that the NBPA also brought in Jeffrey Kessler, one of the union's "bulldog negotiators" during the lockout, in an attempt to win the case.

The decision, which David Stern and the NBA expect to win, will affect whether players' Bird clocks continue to restart when they are released and claimed off waivers by another club. If the arbitrator rules in favor of the NBPA, the Knicks stand to benefit more than any other team. As I explained earlier this week, with the Early Bird rights for players like Jeremy Lin and Novak, New York would improve its chances to retain its own free agents, and could have a chance to bring in an outside free agent with its mid-level exception.


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