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Lin Leads Four Players in Bird rights

New York Knicks/NBA(NEW YORK) -- New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin along with teammate Steve Novak, the Portland Trail Blazers' J.J. Hickson, and the Los Angeles Clippers' Chauncey Billups secured Bird rights and early Bird rights in a hearing between the NBA players' association and the league on Friday.

The Bird rights enable their respective teams to go over salary caps in order to re-sign them.  The move first came into play with the Boston Celtics and their star Larry Bird.

"Bird and early Bird rights are the lynchpin of our Soft Cap system, and we're pleased that Professor Dam recognized that a player does not forfeit these important rights unless he makes an affirmative decision to sign with a new team as a free agent," NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said in a statement released by the players' union. "Players fought hard for a Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows maximum flexibility for free-agent players while also permitting teams to retain their core free agents, and today's decision affirms both of these important principles."

The NBA said they will appeal the ruling.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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