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 3-point shooting at 47.2 percent.
Novak 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.
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.
Novak averaged 8.8 points in 54 games.
The deal can’t be signed until Wednesday after next year’s salary cap is set.