Knicks Want to Keep Lin & Control 'Bird Rights' | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / August 8.
  • Knicks Want to Keep Lin & Control ‘Bird Rights’

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    Knicks GM Glen Grunwald said the team wants to keep point guard  Jeremy Lin going forward and remains hopeful that the upcoming “Bird Rights” hearing on Lin and Steve Novak will go their way.

    On a conference call to announce Mike Woodson as the team’s coach, Grunwald said he “can’t see a scenario where we don’t keep Lin,” a restricted free agent this summer.

    “The rules are what they are and that’s what they say,” Grunwald added.

    “We can keep him if we want and we do want to keep him. And I believe that Jeremy had a great experience here and I believe he wants to come back.”

    Lin’s agent, Roger Montgomery, recently told the New York Post there was no guarantee that Lin would return even though the Knicks control his rights.

    Under the Gilbert Arenas clause, other teams can’t offer more than the average salary of $5 million in the first season of a proposed deal and $5.225 million in the second year.

    “I know history shows most restricted free agents go back to their team, but I’m not going to assume anything,” Montgomery said. “We’re waiting to see what happens.”

    Lin, the Knicks savior at point guard who inspired the global phenomenon of “Linsanity,” underwent meniscus surgery in April and missed the playoffs, but is expected to make a full recovery this summer when he joins the Select Team against Team USA.

    “Jeremy’s doing great,” Woodson said. “He’s going through his rehab process. He’s back running and moving like we expected him to be. … He will be ready to go full as we go through our summer program. He will have some play time with the Select Team so I’ll go out to Vegas and spend some time there and watch him play.”

    An arbitration hearing is set for mid-June to determine if the Knicks hold the Bird Rights to Lin and Novak, both of whom were claimed off waivers.

    The union is arguing waived players should retain their rights, but the league is stating a player’s clock should be “reset” once he’s acquired through waivers.

    If the Knicks win they could re-sign both players while still maintaining their mid-level exception of $5 million for a point guard like STeve Nash, Raymond Felton or Jameer Nelson.

    “We’re interested bystanders, let’s say,” Grunwald said of the hearing. “Obviously it will impact some things  that will provide us a couple more options in terms of trying to improve our team but it’s still the same basic deal.”

    Asked if he thought the union had a good chance to win the case, Grunwald said: “I don’t really have an opinion on it although I am a recovering lawyer. I don’t really think that it’s my position to make a comment on the merits of the case.”

    Grunwald also indicated the Knicks wanted to bring back troubled guard J.R. Smith, who was arrested Thursday in Miami on a bench warrant for not having a valid driver’s license.

    “It’s a legal matter and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment,” Grunwald said of the arrest.

    He does want Smith back, though.

    “J.R. has an option to come back to us next season and we hope he will exercise it,” he said. “And Steve [Novak] is a free agent and we’d love to have him back, too. But Steve probably has the greatest freedom of any of the players because he is unrestricted.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.