Apr. 8, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Steve Novak (16) reacts during the first half against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Steve Novak, New York Knicks — four-years, $15 million
I’d say this is a bit of risk for a player who is essentially one-dimensional (though, to Novak’s credit, he excels at that one-dimension). Novak’s shooting has translated to every venue but isn’t there a legitimate reason why he’s only averaged 9.7 minutes per game prior to this season? Defense is a liability and his rebounding is nonexistent. Novak is like the anti-Jeff Green in this sense; Green offers a passel of different skills, none being elite, while Novak only provides one redeemable quality.
A decent NBA comparison would be Matt Bonner though Novak is a more proficient 3-point shooter. (Another oddity: Both essentially earn the same amount of money. Bonner is set to make $3.6 million this season. Novak will make an average of $3.75 million.) His 3-point shooting is offset by his (or lack thereof) defensive output. Despite the data to the contrary New York excelled with Novak at the 4, as they allowed an above-average 98.6 points per 100 possessions. They scored 5.4 points per 100 possessions more with Novak spacing the floor.
In this sense the deal isn’t completely awful. I don’t think it’s a good value for Novak but he is the perfect complement on a team with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin. Simply spotting up from the corner — where he converted on 48% of his 3-pointers — will alleviate the periods where New York becomes too isolation heavy.
Marcus Camby, New York Knicks — three-years, $13.2 million
The Spurs were among the teams interested in Camby. Camby is an alluring big man despite his age because he can swat shots like no other. Camby rejected 4.8% of the opponents shots while he was on the floor, which is a couple ticks higher than Dwight Howard. There are legitimate concerns about his mobility on the perimeter in against pick-and-rolls and he’s limited offensively. But Camby should be effective as a safety valve when Tyson Chandler is sidelined.
I think the average dollar value is a little skewed in the wrong direction. (Contractual side note: Camby’s first two years are guaranteed, at approximately $10 million. His third-year is partially guaranteed. This does give New York some added flexibility.) So, yeah, the deal is defensible.
Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs* — three-years, $12 million
I’m admittedly biased but is there any doubt that Green is worth this contract (sound off in the comments if you disagree)? Green is the quintessential Spur in the sense that he carries himself with dignity, shoots the ball well and adheres to Gregg Popovich’s defensive philosophy. Green is especially valuable considering one of the Spurs’ primary faults was their deficient athleticism especially when you pit them against Oklahoma City. I don’t mind paying a guy $4 million who is one of the few Spurs capable of defending Russell Westbrook on the perimeter.
Darrell Arthur, Memphis Grizzlies* — three-years, $9-10 million
I inexplicably missed the signing of this deal yesterday. I covered the value of Arthur in my premature preview of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Why was Arthur so important? He was their primary big man off the bench, providing valuable floor spacing and defensive flexibility. His 41 percent mark from outside the paint made him a valuable pick-and-pop weapon. Not only that he gave Gasol and Randolph a reprieve from banging on the interior, a role that Marreese Speights attempted to duplicate this season. The difference between Speights and Arthur was negligible so Speights’ addition turned out to be a positive.
The move is a nice move but it looks a tad redundant after Memphis has already committed to Marreese Speights for essentially the same annual salary. Speights replicated Arthur’s role to the tee last season. Does Memphis really have room for the same player on the team? Are there enough mid-range shots to go around?
Other free agency tidbits
— The Spurs are “confident” that they will retain Boris Diaw and Patty Mills according to a report.
— The Dwight Howard saga continues: Charlotte could land Kris Humphries in a potential trade.
— The Rockets are open to sign-and-trade options for Courtney Lee, a restricted free agent. Boston and Indiana are the current frontrunners for Lee.
— Danny Green via Twitter: Its been a wild road and I’m not done yet…but I’m a very happy man right now lol…looks like I’ll b a spur for a lil while longer #GSG