Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA players' association, released a statement this evening addressing free agency issues involving J.J. Hickson, Chauncey Billups, Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, reports USA Today's J. Michael Falgoust (via Twitter). All four players are hoping that an arbitrator will allow them to keep valuable rights as they hit free agency this summer.
“Bird and Early Bird rights are among the most valuable rights that players have by a player to select a team through free agency. We will ask the arbitrator to resolve this dispute on an expedited basis and prior to the commencement of free agency."
By allowing these players Bird and Early Bird rights, teams will be able to go above the salary cap to retain their own players. This directly impacts the Trail Blazers (Hickson), Clippers (Billups) and Knicks (Lin and Novak). Hoops Rumors writer Chuck Myron broke down the situation in great detail earlier this week.