Apparently, NBA commissioner David Stern wants to be a candidate for most hated man in New York.
According to a league official, Stern’s plan to appeal the union’s victory in the Jeremy Lin/Steve Novak Bird-rights war may carry over into the July 1 start of free agency. That would delay the Knicks’ ability to negotiate for any free agent and create a public-relations nightmare for Stern, whose office is in Midtown.
On Monday, both sides will start talks concerning setting up an appeal panel in Stern’s attempt to overturn arbitrator Kenneth Dam’s decision. One possible resolution is having the appeal process occur but still allowing Novak and Lin to have their Bird rights this summer.
Without Bird rights for Novak, the Knicks have no means of re-signing the three-point ace. Without Bird rights for Lin, the Knicks would have to use their $5 million mid-level exception, leaving little means to sign another free agent beyond the veteran’s minimum.
If the union victory stands up, the Knicks will have either a $5 million or $3 million exception to use on a free agent. Union attorney Ron Klempner said he expects the two players to have Bird rights July 1.