The Knicks are over the salary cap and don't have a first round pick so the team received a big break late last week when an independent arbitrator ruled that point guard Jeremy Lin and sharpshooter Steve Novak will retain their "Bird rights."

That means New York can go over the salary cap and/or luxury tax in order to re-sign its own players.

The NBA plans to appeal the ruling but if it stands the Knicks will be able to re-sign Lin and Novak while also keeping their mid-level exception and the ability to add another player.

That's paramount for a club that won't be selecting until the 48th overall pick in the second round.

Players Under Contract: F: Carmelo Anthony; C: Tyson Chandler; G: Toney Douglas; C: Dan Gadzuric; C: Josh Harrelson; C: Jerome Jordan; G: Iman Shumpert; F/C: Amar'e Stoudemire

Free Agents: G: Mike Bibby; G: Baron Davis; G: Landry Fields (restricted); F: Jared Jeffries; G: Jeremy Lin (restricted); F: Steve Novak; G: J.R. Smith (unrestricted, player option)

Draft History: 2011: Iman Shumpert (17) 2010: Andre Rautins (38), Landry Fields (39) 2009: Jordan Hill (8) 2008: Danilo Gallinari (6) 2007: Wilson Chandler (23)

Draft picks: 2nd round (48th overall)