When is a story about minor salary cap details a major story? When it involves the Knicks, that's when!
An arbitrator has sided with the players union in allowing players claimed off waivers to count under "early Bird rights" (via the New York Times). In short, this means that the Knicks can be permitted to comfortably sign Jeremy Lin or Steve Novak, both of whom have been claimed off waivers. As the New York Times puts it:
The ruling means that both Lin and Steve Novak of the Knicks will be able to re-sign with the team without respect to the salary cap, for a starting salary around $5 million each.
What it also means is that New York can spend $3 million per year (the mini mid-level exception) on a free agent. In other words, let the Steve Nash whispers begin!
Without the early Bird rights exception, it would be impossible for the Knicks to retain Lin and pursue Nash. Thanks to the ruling—if upheld—New York can make that $3 million per year offer.
Would Nash take it? Nobody but Steve can answer that question.
He's likely to garner much more than that on the open market, possibly around $10 million per year on a short-term deal. But, if Nash wants to take a pay cut at the end of his playing days, the ever cosmopolitan point guard might just make such a sacrifice.
Put it this way: Yesterday, there was no shot of Nash on the Knicks, and today, it's quite possible.