Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Novak Agrees Houston’s Contract Offer to Lin Was ‘Ridiculous’
SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. — Steve Novak hoped Linsanity would return to New York, but he agrees that Houston’s back-loaded, poison pill contract offer was “ridiculous.”
“It can be looked at as a ridiculous contract in the sense that it’s a $5 [million], a $5 [million] and a $15 [million over the first three years],” Novak told SNY.tv Wednesday at the Steve Novak Basketball Camp at Sleepy Hollow High School.
“It is kind of ridiculous in terms of the structure. I don’t think in terms of Jeremy’s value that it’s ridiculous. I think everybody knows that. He’s very valuable….I wasn’t there when Carmelo said it but ‘ridiculous contract,’ I think probably means more the fact that there’s a max offer being offered in the third year when the first two was a five.”
Now that Lin is gone to Houston, Novak said he’s “shocked.”
“I think more than anything, most people are shocked,” he said. “I don’t think anybody saw the possibility of Jeremy being anywhere else.”
Novak remained in text contact with Lin recently and hoped he would return to play the point.
“There’s no doubt it’s disappointing,” Novak said. “And when I say disappointing, that comes from me really wanting Jeremy to be my teammate. So hopefully it’s the best thing for Jeremy. He knows, I think everybody knows, I wanted him to be back, and I wanted him to be out there doing what he was doing last year for us.”
Like Lin, Novak has also played in Houston, but he said it will never compare to playing at Madison Square Garden.
“I think being in the Garden, it’s just special,” he said. “To me it’s religion, the fans and the atmosphere and the history, it’s not even really comparable.”
Lin himself wanted to return to New York, as he told Sports Illustrated.
“Honestly, I preferred New York,” Lin told SI. “I love the New York fans to death. That’s the biggest reason why I wanted to return to New York.”
He added, “But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me.”
With Lin now gone to Houston, Novak said he’s looking forward to playing with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd at the point.
“I haven’t personally played with Raymond but I know what he can do, I know how valuable he was when he was here in New York with Amar’e [Stoudemire], the way that those guys play together, so I think that’s great,” Novak said. “And obviously Jason Kidd, I played with him in Dallas, and everybody knows what he does, he’s just unselfish. He’s a great defender, he’s got some of the best hands I’ve ever seen in the NBA, and he’s a smart guy. He’s going to be a leader, which at the point guard spot is what you want. And I think having him and his size and ability to play different positions, I think will be valuable because we’re going to have a few more guards.”
With the additions of Kidd, Felton and Marcus Camby and the re-signings of Novak and J.R. Smith, Novak agrees the Knicks are built to win now.
“Being with both those guys, Jason and Marcus, and knowing how unselfish they both are and how they really are here to win,” Novak said. “When they both signed, I didn’t have to think, ‘I wonder why they’re coming here.’ You know that they’re coming here to win next season.”
Novak agreed that the Knicks must finish higher than the No. 7 seed in the East in order to avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.
“We want to go far in the playoffs,” he said, “and win a championship.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.