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Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after waiver claims

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Post#1 Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after wai
Tue May 15, 2012 10:49 am by HartfordWhalers

Per wiretap with full story in NYTimes:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/sport ... d=tw-share

Interestingly, it could potentially effect not just Lin, but also Billups who was amnestied claimed (as well as Novak and Hickson).

Novak and Lin were in position to earn their early-Bird rights before they were waived last December, Novak by San Antonio and Lin by Golden State. (Lin was subsequently claimed, and waived again, by Houston, before joining the Knicks.)

Hickson and Billups had full Bird rights before being waived (Hickson by Sacramento and Billups by the Knicks).
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Post#2 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 11:41 am by dockingsched

don't think anything will come of it. it would be a heck of win for the knicks who would then be able to sign both lin/novak while keeping their MLE for other players, but i just don't see it happening when its spelled out pretty clearly in the CBA.
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Post#3 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 12:16 pm by DBoys

This is interesting, but probably gets adjudicated, rejected, and filed as "We wish the CBA said A even though it says B." Having a written agreement of 300 pages or so, what's written is the agreement, and attempts to overrule the wording have a tough road to hoe since in essence that's essentially a "renegotiation" of the agreement.
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Post#4 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 12:34 pm by d-train

Bird rights are a negotiated player benefit. Bird rights allow a player an earned opportunity to negotiate higher pay than is otherwise allowed if his performance justifies it.

The question is can a player have his "bird rights" taken away through no action or consent of his own?

I would say the answer is no, players _DO NOT_ lose their benefits when their rights are assigned by one team to another through waivers. Lin, Novak, and Hickson fulfilled their contracts for the prerequisite period to obtain a negotiated benefit. The benefit belongs to the players and can’t be erased by 3rd party action. This should be a win by the union.
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Post#5 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 1:35 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:Bird rights are a negotiated player benefit. Bird rights allow a player an earned opportunity to negotiate higher pay than is otherwise allowed if his performance justifies it.

The question is can a player have his "bird rights" taken away through no action or consent of his own?

I would say the answer is no, players _DO NOT_ lose their benefits when their rights are assigned by one team to another through waivers. Lin, Novak, and Hickson fulfilled their contracts for the prerequisite period to obtain a negotiated benefit. The benefit belongs to the players and can’t be erased by 3rd party action. This should be a win by the union.


You have it completely backwards in two areas.

(1) Bird rights are not some sort of inherent "right" but rather a granted "exception" to the CBA's cap rules. They only exist when the CBA allows it.
(2) But more importantly, your idea that the players are somehow being violated by the union's choices in the CBA is quite absurd. The union speaks for the players, negotiates for them, and whatever they get they get.
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Post#6 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 1:48 pm by HartfordWhalers

DBoys wrote:
d-train wrote:Bird rights are a negotiated player benefit. Bird rights allow a player an earned opportunity to negotiate higher pay than is otherwise allowed if his performance justifies it.

The question is can a player have his "bird rights" taken away through no action or consent of his own?

I would say the answer is no, players _DO NOT_ lose their benefits when their rights are assigned by one team to another through waivers. Lin, Novak, and Hickson fulfilled their contracts for the prerequisite period to obtain a negotiated benefit. The benefit belongs to the players and can’t be erased by 3rd party action. This should be a win by the union.


You have it completely backwards in two areas.

(1) Bird rights are not some sort of inherent "right" but rather a granted "exception" to the CBA's cap rules. They only exist when the CBA allows it.
(2) But more importantly, your idea that the players are somehow being violated by the union's choices in the CBA is quite absurd. The union speaks for the players, negotiates for them, and whatever they get they get.


Even if not in the union, i.e. the age limit.

That said, the union wouldn't be arguing these should exist, but rather, the original intent is that they do exist and the document is unclear in expressing this. I doubt that flies with the league there to try and argue that that wasn't the intent, but assuming the arbitration goes forward we will see.

While important to the Knicks,the impact on Billups and LAC could definitely also be interesting (depending on his recovery).
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Post#7 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 2:11 pm by d-train

DBoys wrote:
d-train wrote:Bird rights are a negotiated player benefit. Bird rights allow a player an earned opportunity to negotiate higher pay than is otherwise allowed if his performance justifies it.

The question is can a player have his "bird rights" taken away through no action or consent of his own?

I would say the answer is no, players _DO NOT_ lose their benefits when their rights are assigned by one team to another through waivers. Lin, Novak, and Hickson fulfilled their contracts for the prerequisite period to obtain a negotiated benefit. The benefit belongs to the players and can’t be erased by 3rd party action. This should be a win by the union.


You have it completely backwards in two areas.

(1) Bird rights are not some sort of inherent "right" but rather a granted "exception" to the CBA's cap rules. They only exist when the CBA allows it.
(2) But more importantly, your idea that the players are somehow being violated by the union's choices in the CBA is quite absurd. The union speaks for the players, negotiates for them, and whatever they get they get.

As I said, "bird rights" are a negotiated player benefit. You can describe the benefit as "a granted exception to the salary cap" if you wish. But, "bird rights" are a negotiated player benefit. And, as you say, the benefit exists because of the CBA.

I don't understand where your 2nd assertion is coming from. The union represents the players and they are requesting arbitration to assert the terms and conditions of the CBA. I don't believe there is any controversy on this point.
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Post#8 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 2:22 pm by DBoys

What the players and union are going to argue is that the wording of the CBA on this topic should be ignored.

What the league will argue is that the CBA is a technical document, that all of its wording is done so to create precise distinctions, and that in the same way the league is bound when they don't like the details of the wording, so is the union and its players.

"I don't understand where your 2nd assertion is coming from."....My point is that when the union signed the CBA, the players individually were agreeing to its contents as the rules for their contracts. Therefore, their rights being "erased" is one based on denying the union's right to agree to the CBA's rules and terms for each of them.
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Post#9 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 2:34 pm by d-train

HartfordWhalers wrote:That said, the union wouldn't be arguing these should exist, but rather, the original intent is that they do exist and the document is unclear in expressing this. I doubt that flies with the league there to try and argue that that wasn't the intent, but assuming the arbitration goes forward we will see.

While important to the Knicks,the impact on Billups and LAC could definitely also be interesting (depending on his recovery).

I don't believe the union is going to argue the document is unclear. The union is going to argue that after a player fulfills his NBA contract for 3 or more years without changing teams via free agency he gains "bird rights" at the end of his contract. The CBA doesn't say a player has to play those 3 years with the same team.

If the NBA wanted the players to agree to further bargaining restrictions, they should have bargained for those restrictions when they had a chance.
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Post#10 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 2:37 pm by d-train

DBoys wrote:What the players and union are going to argue is that the wording of the CBA on this topic should be ignored.

What the league will argue is that the CBA is a technical document, that all of its wording is done so to create precise distinctions, and that in the same way the league is bound when they don't like the details of the wording, so is the union and its players.

"I don't understand where your 2nd assertion is coming from."....My point is that when the union signed the CBA, the players individually were agreeing to its contents as the rules for their contracts. Therefore, their rights being "erased" is one based on denying the union's right to agree to the CBA's rules and terms for each of them.

Where does the CBA say the 3-year clock is reset when a player changes teams but not through free agency?
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Post#11 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 2:40 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:I don't believe the union is going to argue the document is unclear. The union is going to argue that after a player fulfills his NBA contract for 3 or more years without changing teams via free agency he gains "bird rights" at the end of his contract.


Except, that is NOT what the CBA says. It's very precise in its wording, and very consistent from one place to the next.
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Post#12 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 3:07 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:Where does the CBA say the 3-year clock is reset when a player changes teams but not through free agency?


The CBA doesn't use a clock, and it being reset, in its rule for Bird rights.

The CBA says you get Bird* rights if you are a free agent because your contract was completed at the end of the year, and you have played the last 3 seasons with only one team. It allows "only" two specific exceptions to having been with the same team for the prior three seasons: (1) if your 1st year with the team was a partial year, it still counts, and (2) you only changed teams by trade.





* Early Bird rule is worded precisely the same, except it says 2 seasons rather than 3.
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Post#13 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 3:32 pm by d-train

DBoys wrote:
d-train wrote:Where does the CBA say the 3-year clock is reset when a player changes teams but not through free agency?


The CBA says you get Bird* rights if you are a free agent because your contract was completed at the end of the year, and you have played the last 3 seasons with only one team.

Where does the CBA say "bird rights" are conditioned on a player being on 1 team for 3 years?
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Post#14 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 3:40 pm by DBoys

"Where does the CBA say "bird rights" are conditioned on a player being on 1 team for 3 years?"

In the definition. Here's the text.

“Qualifying Veteran Free Agent” means a Veteran Free Agent who, prior to becoming a Veteran Free Agent, played under one or more Player Contracts covering some or all of each of the three preceding Seasons and either played exclusively with his Prior Team during such three Seasons, or, if he played with more than one Team during such period, changed Teams only (i) by means of trade, or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons.
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Post#15 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 4:07 pm by d-train

DBoys wrote:"Where does the CBA say "bird rights" are conditioned on a player being on 1 team for 3 years?"

In the definition. Here's the text.

“Qualifying Veteran Free Agent” means a Veteran Free Agent who, prior to becoming a Veteran Free Agent, played under one or more Player Contracts covering some or all of each of the three preceding Seasons and either played exclusively with his Prior Team during such three Seasons, or, if he played with more than one Team during such period, changed Teams only (i) by means of trade, or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons.

lol, are you serious?

This defines a "Qualifying Veteran Free Agent" and it says a QVFA can be a player that has played for multiple Teams. It specifically allows players that signed a contract with "his team" 3 years prior to the ending of his most recent contract regardless how many different teams is "his team." The player has no control over who his team is and it could be 1 team or 30 teams. As long as the player doesn't sign with a team that isn't "his team" via free agency, the player is a QVFA according to this definition.
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Post#16 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 4:22 pm by dockingsched

read the last part again

if he played with more than one Team during such period, changed Teams only (i) by means of trade, or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons.
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Post#17 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 4:25 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:
DBoys wrote:"Where does the CBA say "bird rights" are conditioned on a player being on 1 team for 3 years?"

In the definition. Here's the text.

“Qualifying Veteran Free Agent” means a Veteran Free Agent who, prior to becoming a Veteran Free Agent, played under one or more Player Contracts covering some or all of each of the three preceding Seasons and either played exclusively with his Prior Team during such three Seasons, or, if he played with more than one Team during such period, changed Teams only (i) by means of trade, or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons.


This defines a "Qualifying Veteran Free Agent" and it says a QVFA can be a player that has played for multiple Teams. It specifically allows players that signed a contract with "his team" 3 years prior to the ending of his most recent contract regardless how many different teams is "his team." The player has no control over who his team is and it could be 1 team or 30 teams. As long as the player doesn't sign with a team that isn't "his team" via free agency, the player is a QVFA according to this definition.


Read again.

QVFA (aka a player with Bird rights) is, by definition, a player who just finished 3 years with one team, OR who meets one of ONLY two exceptions: one is the partial 1st year after having played with one or more teams earlier in that season, and the other is that they changed teams at some point by trade. If you don't have one of those exceptions, it's 3 years with the same team.

The idea that "As long as the player doesn't sign with a team that isn't "his team" via free agency" does not appear in the rule and is not relevant at all.
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Post#18 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 4:36 pm by d-train

This exception

"or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons."

is satisfied if the player doesn't change his team via free agency.

The players "Prior Team" is “his team” as determined by contract. And, it isn't necessarily 1 team. Team’s can assign their player contracts to other teams and if they do the player's team changes.
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Post#19 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 4:42 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:This exception

"or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons."

is satisfied if the player doesn't change his team via free agency.

The players "Prior Team" is “his team” as determined by contract. And, it isn't necessarily 1 team. Team’s can assign their player contracts to other teams and if they do the player's team changes.


Read again.

QVFA is with one team - or changed teams ONLY by means of trade.
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Post#20 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Tue May 15, 2012 4:53 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:This exception

"or (ii) by signing with his Prior Team during the first of the three Seasons."

is satisfied if the player doesn't change his team via free agency.


That exception has nothing to do with what happens when the player becomes a free agent at the end of the 3 seasons. It is talking about the first of the three seasons, and is referencing a player who plays part of a season with one team, then signs with a different team for the balance of that year, and then stays there for 2 more seasons.

Technically that player would NOT have played for only one team for those prior 3 seasons. But this exception allows the seasons to count as 3 even if his time exclusively with one team was only for 2 years plus a portion of another.
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