Since second-round picks aren't on the same salary structure -- nor do they have the same contract limits -- as first-rounders, they cannot earn more than the league's mid-level exception until they have been in the league for three full years. At that point, the second-rounders can become eligible for their max extensions. So, due to the fact that the Knicks were above the cap at the time and the Rockets were not, the Knicks would have had trouble being able to sign their first-round picks from this season because of the cap hit.
As bad as Los Angeles’ model of purchasing a team is the Rockets have been just as underhanded by sticking it to large market teams to pry away important role players or potential studs (Some 2nd round picks do surprise us, I will never deny that). The CBA glossed over the rights of players drafted from pick 31 on and that will need to be addressed.
The Dream Shake has further analysis on Lin's situation, as well as other key areas of the league's new CBA. Be sure to check it out.
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