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.
Steve Novak’s agent says Novak “loved New York” but will test the free agent market beginning at 12:01 a.m.
Novak, the Knicks’ sharp-shooting small forward, won his “Early Bird Rights” on Friday, along with point guard Jeremy Lin. The Knicks can now re-sign both players by going over the salary cap and still keep their mid-level exception.
“It’s a good thing for Steve,” Mark Bartelstein told SNY.tv of the “Bird Rights” ruling. “It gives us a lot more flexibility and a lot more options. This is always what you want, as many options as you can have regarding free agency. He’s a free agent and we’ll see what happens.”
Novak played at Marquette and the New York Post pointed out that the Milwaukee Bucks could pursue him, but Novak told Newsday he is “optimistic” about returning to New York.
“They would love to have him back,” Bartelstein said of the Knicks. “I’m sure [Knicks GM] Glen Grunwald and I will talk tonight or [Sunday]. Woody [coach Mike Woodson] was great for him, as was Glen and the fans.
“He’ll be a free agent and we’ll jump into this thing.”
Meantime, another potential Knicks target, free agent point guard Steve Nash, is being heavily courted by the Toronto Raptors, according to reports.
Sam Amick of SI.com reported that sources told him “a group that includes team governor Larry Tanenbaum, GM Bryan Colangelo, and coach Dwane Casey is flying overnight from Los Angeles tonight [Saturday] on Tanenbaum’s jet in order to be the first team to greet…Steve Nash in the morning.”
Nash said last week he would be “open to everything,” including the Knicks and the Nets. He’s Canadian and playing in Toronto would allow him to play in his home country.
Meantime, the agent for Knicks’ draft pick Kostas Papanikolau told the New York Post that the 6-8 Greek forward whom the team drafted at No. 48 wants to play for the Knicks in 2013-14.
“He definitely wants to play in the NBA, it’s a lifelong dream of his,’’ Marc Cornstein told The Post. “He’s playing at the highest level in the Greek League and it’s the next step. He’s anxious to play sooner than later. He wanted the right fit with the right team and the Knicks we would’ve handpicked.’’
He has a $1 million buyout of which the Knicks can pay about $650,000, the Post reported.
But Cornstein told SNY.tv by text, “The opportunity will be there for him to come next season.”
Cornstein said of his client: “[He brings] intensity, he’s a good shooter and he’s a hard-nosed player who has already won at the highest levels of European competition.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.