Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Nash, Raptors, Celtics

Today's bird rights ruling for the players' union will have a massive effect on this summer's free agent market and is great news for several teams, including the Knicks.  Now with extra flexibility, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News suggests that the club could split the mid-level exception to re-sign J.R. Smith and make a run at Jason Kidd.  Here's more on the Knicks and the rest of the Atlantic Division..

  • Many were surprised by the bird rights ruling for Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, but Deputy General Counsel for the union Ron Klempner told Jared Zwerling of ESPN.com that the case went as expected.  Klempner also disputed David Stern's previous assertion that the bird rights issue was already addressed in full during negotiatons.
  • NBA analyst Jack Armstrong told Sportsnet 950's Eric Smith that he likes the Raptors chances of signing Steve Nash this summer.  "I like Toronto's chances. I really do. I think they are going to make a major push for him. I think the connections are there from a personality perspective, with Brian Colangelo and Jay Triano, and the fact that he is now the GM of Canada Basketball," said Armstrong.
  • Paul Flannery of WEEI.com argues that the Celtics should keep their core together, despite the changing landscape of the NBA.  Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett is still deciding whether to play next season.

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