Jun 22

Beck: Arbitrator Grants Full Bird-Rights For J.J. Hickson

By caseyholdahl Posted in: j.j.hickson

Howard Beck of the New York Times is reporting the arbitration regarding whether players who are claimed off waivers retain Bird rights has been settled. And from the sound of it, it's good news for the Trail Blazers, at least if they want to re-sign J.J. Hickson.
The ruling means that both Lin and Steve Novak of the Knicks will be able to re-sign with the team without respect to the salary cap, for a starting salary around $5 million each. Just as critically, it means that the Knicks will not need to use their midlevel exception to sign either player, which will allow them to use that slot for another free agent.

The ruling — which applies to any player who was claimed off waivers — also affects Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers and J. J. Hickson of the Portland Trail Blazers. Billups and Hickson will now have full Bird rights, allowing them to re-sign with their teams for any amount up to the maximum salary.

So as I understand it, the Trail Blazers can now go over the salary cap to re-sign Hickson, should they choose to do so. The practical application is the Trail Blazers can re-sign Hickson without eating up any cap space that could be used for bringing in new free agents. It's basically the same scenario that the team finds themselves in with Nicolas Batum. Good news.

UPDATE: Here's what the NBA has to say about the decision:
The NBA announced today that a decision has been issued in the recent arbitration proceeding brought by the Players Association on behalf of Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, Chauncey Billups, and J.J. Hickson.  In that decision, arbitrator Kenneth Dam ruled that players who are claimed off of waivers have the same "Bird" or "Early Bird" rights that they would have if they were traded.

The NBA will appeal the ruling.


  1. Hey Casey got to run to work but can do so by saying good news.

    by Hg on 6/22/2012 10:57 AM
  2. I think it will be very interesting to see what the Blazers' qualifying offers to Hickson and Batum are going to be. If I understand correctly, re-signing them wouldn't count against the cap, but wouldn't it still factor into the luxury tax? It seems like luxury tax matters are strictly Paul Allen's decisions; it's not like Olshey would be spending his own paycheck. And if the deadline for qualifying offers is June 30, that means next week will be busy. I wonder if Olshey and his team will wait to see what happens at the draft and then make a decision. And while we're jamming everything into next week, Scott Brooks' contract negotiations may as well fall through and he can come in for an interview. Maybe Paul Allen will give him the 4th year that he's looking for.

    by petro4three on 6/22/2012 11:49 AM
  3. More: And what if the NBA wins on appeal after the players are signed?

    by petro4three on 6/22/2012 11:51 AM
  4. I'm guessing that if they win the appeal, that will be the rule going forward. i don't know how they could retroactively enforce after a player is already signed.

    by caseyholdahl on 6/22/2012 12:03 PM
  5. Excellent news. I think that this will influence the off-season tremendously. We don't have to take a chance on drafting a PF to backup LMA (PJIII, Jones, Sullinger) and we don't have to be actively searching free-agency for a backup 4 like we were last season. Now, I know Hickson can still end up in another uniform however, I doubt he'll get an offer that we cannot match. We're not completely out of the woods, but we can breathe a little more easily now.

    by Jerae Bryant on 6/22/2012 12:11 PM
  6. Breathing easier for me would be getting Hickson at the right price. I'm not sure we should pay him $5,000,000 a year, which I think is his caphold. I don't think he would find that anywhere else anyway.

    by petro4three on 6/22/2012 12:30 PM
  7. That's my stance as well petro. I'm glad we can go over the cap to sign him, but that still doesn't mean we should overpay. The price has to be right.

    by DHawes22 on 6/22/2012 12:40 PM
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