I cannot overstate how important this is for the Knicks. Before this ruling, there was a very significant chance that the Knicks would lose at least one, if not both of those players, but now the Knicks can go over the cap to retain them.
Had they not been given Bird rights, the Knicks would have had to use their mid-level or bi-annual exceptions to try to sign Lin and Novak. While the mid-level might be enough to bring back Lin, it seemed nearly impossible for the Knicks to bring back Novak with the bi-annual exception.
But now the Knicks can bring both back and retain their exceptions. That means the Knicks can not only keep their own players, but they can actually go out and chase some veterans.
A starting lineup of Jeremy Lin, Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler with Steve Novak and Iman Shumpert (when he recovers) as the principal bench players would give the Knicks one of the league's most talented teams.
Allen would get a ton of open shots with that much talent. Lin would give the Knicks a distributor to get everyone the ball, and if Carmelo and Amar'e can just learn to play together, the Knicks could be a dangerous team.
Ray Allen is just one example of the type of free agents the Knicks can now chase. This ruling has given the Knicks a real chance to actually improve their roster. Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak will be back next year, and they're bringing a talented veteran with them.