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Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after waiver claims

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Post#91 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:35 am by d-train

DBoys was right about one thing. The literal wording of the CBA rather than arguments about the intended agreement persuaded the arbitrator. At least that is how it went according to Feldman who seems to have access to the details of the case.

The NBPA argument was the agreements literal wording "by means of trade" has to be strictly adhered to. And, a waiver assignment is a trade between 2 NBA teams. The assignor receives cash and is relieved of a contractual obligation. The assignee receives a player. Both teams have to be motivated to deal by consideration or there is no trade.

The NBA argument was that a waiver claim isn't a trade because the NBA doesn't call it a trade. They call it a waiver claim. And, if the agreement intended waiver claims to be included, the agreement would have said "by means of trade or by means of waivers."

The arbitrator decided that if the NBA wanted to exclude a type of trade they had to do it in the CBA. The arbitrator even pointed out that the CBA defined "Traded Player" as a player assigned by trade other than waivers and could have defined "Trade" to exclude trades by waiver if that was the agreement.

The NBA argument was based on what they believed was the intent of the agreement and the arbitrator was not convinced. In fact, the arbitrator said he believed the intent of making players wait for bird rights was to close a loophole that allowed players to change teams by signing short 1-year agreements followed by a longer-term big contract that allowed their team to exceed the salary cap. And, the bird rights loophole doesn’t apply to trades because the player doesn’t control trades.
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Post#92 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:34 pm by DBoys

d-train wrote:... the CBA defined "Traded Player" as a player assigned by trade other than waivers and ...


The CBA does NOT use the phraseology "assigned by trade other than waivers" - and properly so, since waivers is not a form of a trade. Edit - And neither does the arbitrator, so your argument based on nuances of non-existent wording is a non-starter of an argument.

"the arbitrator said he believed the intent of making players wait for bird rights" ...<. If the arb based his ruling on the players getting or not getting something, he was far afield and creating his own CBA concepts from his own imagination. The players don't "get Bird rights" or any "rights" at all in the situation in question. They are not waiting for something to be bestowed. The issue is whether a team might or might not get more latitude in signing a player.

"The NBA argument was based on what they believed was the intent of the agreement"...Again you make things up that are not factual. The NBA's argument is that their view is based on the obvious MEANING of the document itself, using the word "trade" in the same way it is always used in the NBA world, and that trying to insert something different for its meaning is nonsense.
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Post#93 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:17 am by Dunkenstein

In the definitions section of the CBA it states: (qqq) "Traded Player" means a player whose Player Contract is assigned by one Team to another Team other than by means of the NBA waiver procedure.

This definition has been in every CBA since 1999.

Further, at no time does the arbitrator use the phrase "assigned by trade other than waivers" in his ruling. In fact he quotes the definition of "Traded Player" which I opened with.

The arbitrator does point out that: "Prior to 2005 a player who changed teams via the waiver process would have had Bird (or Early Bird) rights. Although there was some hesitation on the NBA side to take a position on that question, I rely on the statement by Richard S. Buchanan, the General Counsel of the NBA, to the effect that the term 'assignment' under the prior CBA was “broad enough to have covered both waivers and trades.' "

As an aside, it's interesting to note that prior to the 2005 CBA, what the CBA now refers to as the "Traded Player Exception" was called the "Assigned Player Exception".
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Post#94 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:12 am by DBoys

Thanks for that factual information.

Is the full text of the arbitrator's ruling available online anywhere? I've looked for it without any luck.
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Post#95 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:44 pm by Dunkenstein

The N.B.A. and its players union are moving toward a settlement in the so-called Bird rights case that has temporarily clouded the future of the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin, according to two people briefed on the talks.

The most likely outcome is that Lin and three other players — including the Knicks’ Steve Novak — will retain some form of Bird rights, as affirmed last week by an arbitrator, according to one of the people briefed on the talks. But the talks were continuing Thursday, and the details of a settlement remained in flux.

An announcement could be made as soon as Friday, but no later than Saturday night, so that the affected players and their teams will have clarity before the free-agent period opens, at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/sport ... .html?_r=1
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Post#96 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:48 pm by HartfordWhalers

Dunkenstein wrote:In the definitions section of the CBA it states: (qqq) "Traded Player" means a player whose Player Contract is assigned by one Team to another Team other than by means of the NBA waiver procedure.

This definition has been in every CBA since 1999.

Further, at no time does the arbitrator use the phrase "assigned by trade other than waivers" in his ruling. In fact he quotes the definition of "Traded Player" which I opened with.

The arbitrator does point out that: "Prior to 2005 a player who changed teams via the waiver process would have had Bird (or Early Bird) rights. Although there was some hesitation on the NBA side to take a position on that question, I rely on the statement by Richard S. Buchanan, the General Counsel of the NBA, to the effect that the term 'assignment' under the prior CBA was “broad enough to have covered both waivers and trades.' "

As an aside, it's interesting to note that prior to the 2005 CBA, what the CBA now refers to as the "Traded Player Exception" was called the "Assigned Player Exception".



Shame that APE didn't catch on. Would have made reading trade proposals (more) amusing.
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Post#97 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:45 am by Nanogeek

The NBA announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the NBA Players Association of the recent arbitration proceeding filed on behalf of Chauncey Billups, J.J. Hickson, Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak.

Under the settlement, the union agreed to limit the scope of the ruling by arbitrator Kenneth Dam in exchange for the league's agreement to drop its appeal. The rule will now be that players who are claimed from waivers will have the same "Early Bird" rights as if they had been traded, but will not have full "Bird" rights unless they are claimed through the league's amnesty procedure.

Below are the players on whose behalf the arbitration proceeding was brought and their status when free agency opens on July 1:

Chauncey Billups - Bird
J.J. Hickson - Bird
Jeremy Lin - Early Bird
Steve Novak - Early Bird


The league has clearly recognized that the NBAPA arguments have enough substance that there was risk that full Bird rights for players claimed off waivers was a possible outcome. The ambiguity in the CBA allowing the word "trade" to include arguably a waiver transaction is another classic example of how, even when there are an army of attorneys involved, something can still fall through the cracks.
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Post#98 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:15 am by HartfordWhalers

Hickson wasn't amnestied, so he should be listed as Early Bird.
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Post#99 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:37 am by d-train

Hickson was waived in his 4th season. He accrued full bird rights after his 3rd season. I can't believe the NBPA would agree to take away a portion of his bird rights without allowing him an opportunity to be a free agent.

Edit: There isn't a practical difference between full and partial bird rights unless a player’s value is more than MLE. So, there might not be a practical issue because why would a team waive a player with that much value.
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Post#100 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:02 pm by HartfordWhalers

d-train wrote:Hickson was waived in his 4th season. He accrued full bird rights after his 3rd season. I can't believe the NBPA would agree to take away a portion of his bird rights without allowing him an opportunity to be a free agent.

Edit: There isn't a practical difference between full and partial bird rights unless a player’s value is more than MLE. So, there might not be a practical issue because why would a team waive a player with that much value.


But this makes no sense.

If the ruling was upheld entirely it would have been:
Chauncey Billups - Bird
J.J. Hickson - Bird
Jeremy Lin - Early Bird
Steve Novak - Early Bird

If the ruling was overturned it would have been:
Chauncey Billups - None
J.J. Hickson - None
Jeremy Lin - None
Steve Novak - None

Instead, supposedly the compromise was:

Under the settlement, a player who is claimed off waivers will get the same early Bird rights as a player who is traded. However, in a compromise by the union, a waived player can retain full Bird rights only if he is claimed through the new amnesty procedure. In all other cases, a waived player will be eligible only for early Bird rights.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/sport ... p-lin.html

So, the stated compromise would have to leave:
Chauncey Billups - Bird
J.J. Hickson - Early Bird
Jeremy Lin - Early Bird
Steve Novak - Early Bird

However, everywhere is listing Hickson as Bird, which would mean that either the characterization of Hickson is wrong, or the description of the compromise is wrong. And if the compromise description is wrong (so waived players can get full Bird rights regardless of if they were an amnesty waiver or not, then it would just look like the league didn't compromise so much as fold entirely.
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Post#101 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:41 pm by d-train

It might be that some waived players claimed off waivers will have option to choose free agency. Maybe Hickson gets full free agency because he didn't get chance to choose
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Post#102 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sun Jul 1, 2012 7:10 am by HartfordWhalers

d-train wrote:It might be that some waived players claimed off waivers will have option to choose free agency. Maybe Hickson gets full free agency because he didn't get chance to choose


I don't understand this. None of them got a chance to choose free agency, all were claimed. Either Hickson is early Bird and the settlement cut some difference between the sides, or Hickson is full bird and the settlement was a complete win for the union.

That said, Hickson didn't even have his q/o picked up, so the difference between the two for Hickson won't matter. However, going forward waiver without amnesty is going to be more of an issue then waiver with the one time amnesty for pre-existing contracts, so its potentially not a moot question.
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Post#103 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sun Jul 1, 2012 12:28 pm by Dunkenstein

An NBA exec emailed me the following info on Hickson:
"As part of the settlement, Hickson was awarded what the arbitrator initially
ruled. Then going forward for future free agent classes, the new rules of
the settlement overwrite the initial ruling. So that's how Hickson was
granted full Bird rights over and above the settlement."
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Post#104 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sun Jul 1, 2012 12:39 pm by HartfordWhalers

Dunkenstein wrote:An NBA exec emailed me the following info on Hickson:
"As part of the settlement, Hickson was awarded what the arbitrator initially
ruled. Then going forward for future free agent classes, the new rules of
the settlement overwrite the initial ruling. So that's how Hickson was
granted full Bird rights over and above the settlement."


Awesome to get that info, thanks!!!
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Post#105 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:49 am by Garf

Silly question: so the Knicks now must be able to match every theoretical offer for Lin with the Early Bird Exception? Arenas still applies? What would be the max contract?

To my understanding, it's:
average salary
average salary + 4.5%
13.67M + 4.5% + 4.5%
13.67M + 4.5% + 4.5% + 4.5% (e.g. as a Player Option, to make it even more attractive)

Correct?
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Post#106 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:53 pm by Dunkenstein

Garf wrote:Silly question: so the Knicks now must be able to match every theoretical offer for Lin with the Early Bird Exception? Arenas still applies? What would be the max contract?

The first-year salary of an offer sheet cannot be greater than the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, which this year is $5M. The original team can use either the NTMLE (if available) or the EBE to match.

The second-year salary equals the first-year salary plus 4.5%.

Today Houston offered Lin $5M in the first year and $5.225M in year two.

The third-year salary is limited by the maximum amount that the player would have been eligible to receive in that year. Since Lin was offered $14.898M, I'll assume that's what the league determined his maximum salary would be in 2014-15.

The CBA says that the players salary for any subsequent year can increase by no more than 4.1% of the third-year salary. Therefore, the most Lin could have been offered in year four would have been $15,508M.

That of course assumes that team offering Lin a max offer sheet has $10,158M in available cap room this year, the average of the $40,631M total of the four-year max offer sheet.
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Post#107 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:42 am by Garf

Dunkenstein wrote:The first-year salary of an offer sheet cannot be greater than the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, which this year is $5M. The original team can use either the NTMLE (if available) or the EBE to match.


Then what did the arbitration change? Only introduced an alternative way of matching, allowing the Knicks to become a tax-paying team by signing a couple of 50-year-olds to massive contracts?

Dunkenstein wrote:The third-year salary is limited by the maximum amount that the player would have been eligible to receive in that year. Since Lin was offered $14.898M, I'll assume that's what the league determined his maximum salary would be in 2014-15.


I think you're wrong and it's maximum year 3 salary (the he could have gotten if it wasn't for Arenas) plus two raises. Compare with Asik.
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Post#108 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:11 am by DBoys

Garf wrote:
I think you're wrong and it's maximum year 3 salary (the he could have gotten if it wasn't for Arenas) plus two raises. Compare with Asik.


You're probably saying the same thing with Dunkenstein, and vice versa.

If 13.67 is the rounded off version of a max salary in year 1, then the max possible offer for yr 3 is the max he would have otherwise gotten if no restrictions were in place - ie, 13.67 + 9%, or 14.9.

Or, if being more precise, 13,668,750 x 1.09 = 14,898,937.

Dunkenstein is correct in noting that year 4 limit is a 4.1% raise over year 3 (15,509,793) rather than a 13.5% raise over the year 1 max of 13,668,750 (15,514,031).
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Post#109 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:14 am by DBoys

Garf wrote:
Dunkenstein wrote:The first-year salary of an offer sheet cannot be greater than the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, which this year is $5M. The original team can use either the NTMLE (if available) or the EBE to match.


Then what did the arbitration change?


The arbitration had nothing to do with the allowable size of an offer sheet. It had to do with what cap exception a team has available to re-sign a player they claim from waivers (or amnesty-waivers).
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Post#110 Re: Possible Arbitration on Bird Rights after
Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:38 am by Three34

Garf wrote:
Dunkenstein wrote:The first-year salary of an offer sheet cannot be greater than the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level exception, which this year is $5M. The original team can use either the NTMLE (if available) or the EBE to match.


Then what did the arbitration change? Only introduced an alternative way of matching, allowing the Knicks to become a tax-paying team by signing a couple of 50-year-olds to massive contracts?


Pretty much. Lucky them. The arbitration did however have a very significant impact re: Steve Novak, who got $15 million whereas he would have otherwise only been able to get pittance.
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