Knicks, Novak agree on 4-year, $15 million deal
NEW YORK Steve Novak is returning to the New York Knicks with a four-year deal worth $15 million.
Novak’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Monday the deal is a reward for a player who finally got his opportunity and took advantage of it. The Knicks claimed Novak after he was waived by San Antonio and he went on to lead the NBA in three-point shooting at 47.2 percent.
Novak is a Wisconsin native who played at Brown Deer High School and collegiately at Marquette.
He may not have been able to return without a challenge by the union to claim his “Bird Rights,” allowing the Knicks to exceed the salary cap to keep him. Previously, players only kept their Bird Rights if traded, but the players’ association successfully argued that players claimed off waivers should, too.
Bartelstein thanked union executive director Billy Hunter and attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner for fighting for Novak’s rights. He said Novak would have got a “really good deal” somewhere, but without the ruling it’s doubtful it could have come in New York, and staying with the Knicks was his preference.
“We’re excited we were able to get this deal done,” Bartelstein said. “He had a love affair with the Knicks and their fans last year. This is where he wanted to be.”
Novak, who has played for five teams in six years, averaged 8.8 points off the bench.
Novak had played sparingly for four other teams in his first five seasons before enjoying a career year in New York. He began to get more playing time off the bench in February, about the time Jeremy Lin was taking over the offense, and his perimeter shooting quickly became a perfect complement to Lin’s drives.
The deal can’t be signed until Wednesday after next year’s salary cap is set.
AP source: Hinrich set for return to Bulls
Veteran guard Kirk Hinrich has agreed to a deal to return to the Chicago Bulls.
A person with knowledge of the NBA confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity Monday because it has not been announced. Free agents can’t sign new contracts until Wednesday. Hinrich’s decision was first reported by the Chicago Tribune.
The 31-year-old Hinrich spent his first seven seasons with Chicago before he was traded to the Washington Wizards two years ago. He was later dealt to Atlanta, where he averaged 6.6 points in 48 games last season.
He will give the Bulls an experienced point guard while Derrick Rose recovers from knee surgery. Chicago also drafted Marquis Teague in the first round last month.
Williams not caught up in Howard trade talk
Deron Williams and Dwight Howard talked about being NBA teammates four years ago during the Olympics. Now Williams knows there’s speculation that it could happen soon.
He’s aware of reports that Orlando and Brooklyn and trying to arrange a trade—possibly involving two other teams—but he’s not paying too much attention to that.
“There’s been a lot of rumors over the last year as far as he’s concerned, so early on I concerned myself with it, but lately just let it play out and whatever happens, happens,” Williams said Monday in Las Vegas at training camp for the latest Olympic team. “I think we’ll have a good team without him. I think we’d have an even better team with him.”
Howard has asked the Magic to trade him, with the Nets his preferred destination.
There were multiple reports Monday that the Nets and Magic were talking with the Clippers and Cavaliers about a deal that would ultimately send Howard to Brooklyn
The Nets have already had a good July, acquiring All-Star guard Joe Johnson from Atlanta and getting Williams to commit to a five-year, $98 million extension, rather than join the Dallas Mavericks.
Williams can finally sign the deal late Tuesday night and will be able to fully participate in the U.S. Olympic team’s practices Wednesday after sitting out the contact portions for now.
Getting Howard, whom Williams said there is no player like in the NBA, would make them even stronger as they open their first season in Brooklyn.
“I think we’ll be good, I think we’ll one of the top teams in the East for sure, top teams in the NBA,” Williams said, “but it just depends on how everybody jells and comes together as a team.”
Williams said he hasn’t talked to Howard for a couple of weeks, but knows the situation has been trying for him and hopes to see a resolution soon.
“For him, because I’m friends with him, so I know how tough it’s been on him,” Williams said. “So yeah, you want to see it end one way or another just so he can be happy and move on.”