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Beck: Blazers F J.J. Hickson Could Get Bird Rights Back

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Howard Beck of the New York Times reports that the National Basketball Players Association is seeking clarification from an arbitrator on a contract stipulation that could impact the Portland Trail Blazers and free agent forward J.J. Hickson. ----------------------------- The case concerns what are known as "Bird rights," which allow a player to re-sign with his team, without regard to the salary cap. The league contends those rights are lost when a player changes teams through waivers. The union is challenging that interpretation. ... The case could also affect J.J. Hickson of the Portland Trail Blazers and Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers. At issue is whether a player retains his Bird rights when he is claimed off waivers, as Lin, Novak, Hickson and Billups were this season. The union contends that a claimed player on waivers should retain all contractual benefits, just as a player does when he is traded. The league disagrees, based on a clause in the labor agreement that indicates Bird rights are lost when a player is waived, even if another team claims him. ----------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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