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Bird rights ruling affects four

Updated: June 26, 2012, 9:25 PM ET
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com

In a surprise ruling on Friday, New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, Los Angeles Clippers' Chauncey Billups and Portland Trail Blazers' J.J. Hickson secured Bird and early Bird rights in a hearing between the NBA Players Association and the league.

The decision was made by arbitrator Kenneth Dam, who affirmed that players claimed off waivers are able to retain their valuable Bird and early Bird rights when they become free agents. That means that if Lin, Billups, Novak and Hickson ...

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