Banks' Bird RightsSteve Aschburner of the Star Tribune says the Wolves don't have the full Bird Rights on Marcus Banks:
Banks, the Wolves' starter at point guard in the final 28 games last season after he arrived in a January trade with Boston, is an unrestricted free agent. The team believed it held full "Bird" rights on him, allowing it to pay whatever was needed to re-sign Banks (up to the league maximum) without gouging into their other financial tools for free agency.
But General Manager Jim Stack confirmed Monday that the NBA turned down a Wolves petition to free Banks from certain restrictions on fourth-year players' salaries. Now, if the bidding for Banks' services goes beyond $2.464 million for the 2006-07 season, the team would have to spend part or all of its midlevel exception to the salary cap, a valuable chip worth $5 million to lure outside help.
What it means is, the more the Wolves spend to bring back Banks, the less they'll have to offer newcomers. Or vice versa.
Clearly, the team had a different signing scenario in mind.
"We were trying to fight with the league that we did not circumvent anything," Stack said in a phone interview from Las Vegas, where the Wolves are participating in summer league action through Friday. "The league said they're not going to grandfather it for us."