Steve Novak

Free Agency Notes: Novak, Motiejunas, Vesely

Veteran sharpshooter Steve Novak, who has spent the last two years with the Thunder and Bucks, has only played 66 total minutes since the start of the 2015/16 season, but he’s not ready to call it a career quite yet. Agent Mark Bartelstein tells Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times that Novak wants to play another season. Bartelstein added that he’s spoken to multiple teams about Novak, but he didn’t get any more specific than that.

Here are a few more notes related to NBA free agents and free agency:

  • A year after his restricted free agency became one of the NBA’s most bizarre offseason storylines, Donatas Motiejunas may be on the verge of heading overseas to continue his career. Stavros Barbarousis of Eurohoops suggests that China appears to be the most likely landing spot for Motiejunas, though the big man has received interest from European clubs, including Zalgiris Kaunas in his home country of Lithuania.
  • Former sixth overall pick Jan Vesely reportedly drew some NBA interest this offseason, and his contract gave him the opportunity to explore NBA opportunities. However, Vesely – who has played internationally since 2014 – won’t be returning stateside. His agent has confirmed that Vesely will remain in Turkey, having opted into his deal with Fenerbahce (Twitter link).
  • Jeremias Engelmann of (Insider link) makes his picks for the six best free agent deals of the summer, identifying multiple Warriors (Zaza Pachulia, David West) and Rockets (Nene, Luc Mbah a Moute) as some of the most team-friendly signings of the offseason.

Bucks Trade Miles Plumlee To Hornets

3:19pm: The deal is official, with the Hornets acquiring Plumlee and cash considerations from the Bucks in exchange for Hibbert and Hawes, according to a pair of press releases. The Bucks also confirmed the release of Novak.Miles Plumlee vertical

“We are excited to add Miles to our roster,” Hornets GM Rich Cho said in a statement. “He is an athletic big man who brings additional physicality and rebounding to our frontcourt rotation.  He’s a proven player with a strong work ethic and we think he’ll fit in well with our core group.”

“Spencer and Roy are two proven NBA centers who give us additional depth and versatility in the front court,” Bucks GM John Hammond said of his team’s acquisitions. “The trade also gives us future cap flexibility as we continue to shape our roster. Miles and Steve are true professionals both on and off the court, and we wish them all the best.

1:22pm: The Bucks and Hornets have reached an agreement in principle on a trade that will send Miles Plumlee to Charlotte, according to Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of (via Twitter). Milwaukee will receive Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes in the deal, per the ESPN duo. The Bucks will release Steve Novak in order to clear a roster spot for the two incoming players, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter) that a trade call has been scheduled for later today to make the deal official.

Plumlee, 28, reached restricted free agency last summer, and eventually agreed to a four-year, $50MM deal with the Bucks. However, his role in Milwaukee has been reduced this season. Plumlee’s minutes per game have dipped from 14.3 to 9.7, and his other averages in several other categories have taken a hit as well. Most notably, he’s shooting just 44.1% from the floor this year after making more than 60% of his field goal attempts in 2015/16.

While the Bucks entered the season reportedly looking to move Greg Monroe, the former Piston has been a solid contributor for Milwaukee, and has split the majority of the club’s minutes at center with John Henson, leaving Plumlee on the outside looking in. In Charlotte, Plumlee should have the opportunity to earn a larger role, particularly with two Hornets big men – Hibbert and Hawes – heading the other way in the deal.

Hibbert and Hawes have each been part-time players for the Hornets this season, combining to average just under 34 minutes per game between them. Hawes has contributed 7.3 PPG and 4.2 RPG, while Hibbert has chipped in 5.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG.

Considering there wasn’t much playing time available in Milwaukee for Plumlee, it may be difficult for both Hibbert and Hawes to carve out regular roles for their new team, but early indications are that the Bucks intend to keep both players, per Stein (Twitter link). It’s worth noting that the Bucks have been linked to Hawes in the recent past — his name came up in a Monroe trade rumor during training camp.

For the Bucks, the move represents a cost-cutting maneuver for the future. Although Hawes ($6.35MM) and Hibbert ($5MM) make nearly as much as Plumlee ($12.5MM) this season, neither player is under contract for long. Hibbert will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Hawes could follow suit, if he turns down his $6MM+ player option for 2017/18. Plumlee, on the other hand, will earn a guaranteed $12.5MM salary annually through the 2019/20 season, limiting Charlotte’s spending flexibility down the road.

The Bucks will also eat a little dead money by cutting Novak, who had been on a one-year, minimum salary contract. Assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, his $980,431 cap charge will remain on the books for Milwaukee.

While the trade is hardly a blockbuster, it’s an interesting move for two teams who are battling one another for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Currently, Charlotte maintains a tenuous grip on the No. 8 seed, with a 23-27 record, while Milwaukee is close behind, at 21-27.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Players Who Can Veto Trades

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, and they became even rarer this offseason, when several players with those clauses in their contracts either called it a career or signed new deals. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, who all opted for retirement, had no-trade clauses last season, and so did Dwyane Wade, who doesn’t have the same protection on his new contract with the Bulls.

Nonethless, while the list of players with explicit no-trade clauses may be dwindling, there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year contract with an option clause – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents signed their QOs this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2016/17 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

Players accepting qualifying offers

  • None

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

Information from Basketball Insiders and Yahoo! Sports was used in the creation of this post.

Central Notes: Wade, George, Seraphin, Novak

Dwyane Wade‘s reasons for signing with the Bulls after 13 years in Miami transcend basketball, relays In an interview with Good Morning America that aired today, Wade said he hopes to serve as a voice to help end the wave of gun violence that has infected Chicago. That violence touched Wade’s family last week when his 32-year-old cousin, Nykea Aldridge, was killed in the city by a stray bullet. Wade, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side, and his mother, Jolina Wade, a former drug dealer, participated in a series of panel discussions on gun violence just before Aldridge was shot. “Now I’m back in the city of Chicago — I’m back for a reason,” Wade said. “I played 13 years in Miami. Now I’m back in the city, let me see what I can do as one person to help lend my voice and help shed light on the tragedy that’s going on and find a solution to start the process of making change.”

There’s more news out of the Central Division:

  • The Pacersagreement with Kevin Seraphin should have little effect on a planned long-term extension for Paul George, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Indiana needs to free up just $3.802MM to get George to his maximum salary for this season, Kyler notes. George will become eligible for an extension on September 25th.
  • Several European teams, particularly FC Barcelona, had expressed strong interest in Seraphin before he signed with the Pacers, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.
  • Steve Novak was given the power to block a trade when he re-signed with the Bucks on Monday, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The 33-year-old free agent accepted a one-year, $1,551,659 deal to return to Milwaukee, where he played just three games last season before suffering a sprained left MCL.

Bucks Notes: Novak, R. James, Sanders

After signing Jason Terry last week, the Bucks have continued to fill out their roster with veterans, announcing a deal for Steve Novak on Monday and reportedly reaching an agreement with Xavier Henry today. We’ve got more details and notes related to those signings, plus a couple more Bucks-related items, so let’s dive right in and round them up…

  • Novak signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Bucks, per Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. For Novak, who has 10 years of NBA experience under his belt, that will mean a salary worth about $1.552MM, though it will count for just $980K against Milwaukee’s cap.
  • Within that same piece, Gardner notes that Novak is healthy and won’t face any restrictions as a result of the MCL injury he suffered back in February. The veteran sharpshooter told Gardner that he’s excited to continue playing for his hometown team. “We really believe the Bucks are the best fit for me right now,” Novak said. “It’s a perfect storm. It just comes down to … we’d move every single year. It’s our way of life and we love it. But it’s great (to stay in Milwaukee).”
  • The Bucks had interest in signing guard Ra’Shad James, who played for the team in Summer League, according to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal-Times (via Twitter). However, James opted to play in Croatia this season instead, presumably recognizing that he’d face long odds to earn a roster spot with the Bucks.
  • Former Bucks forward Larry Sanders, who remains on the team’s cap through the 2021/22 season, has drawn NBA interest this summer and continues to contemplate a comeback, though some clubs have concerns about how much he really loves basketball, writes Mike Piellucci of Vice Sports. Piellucci’s piece goes into plenty of detail and provides greater context about Sanders’ life and his history with basketball, and is worth reading.

Bucks Re-Sign Steve Novak

The Bucks have re-signed unrestricted free agent Steve Novak, the team announced (via Twitter). The length and terms of the arrangement were not relayed, but with Milwaukee over the cap, it is likely for the veteran’s minimum. The team does still possess its Room Exception worth $2,898,000, but it would be surprising if it was used in this case. The team now has 15 players on its roster, which is the regular season maximum.

Novak had garnered some interest around the league from other teams, per his agent Mark Bartelstein, but the veteran had been holding off on making a decision because his clear preference was to remain in Milwaukee. “There have been a few teams that we’ve talked to; you always got to keep your doors open,’’ Bartelstein had said earlier this month. “But we’re still talking with the Bucks and, hopefully, we’ll make a deal with them. Steve would love to stay in Milwaukee. It’s a very special place for him.’’

The forward was the No. 32 overall pick in 2006. He has appeared in 459 career regular season games, averaging 4.7 points and 1.3 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per outing. He owns a career shooting line of .438/.431/.877. Novak will provide the team with veteran leadership and some outside shooting off the bench.

Bucks To Re-Sign Steve Novak

The Bucks are planning to re-sign unrestricted free agent Steve Novak, according to Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The details of the proposed arrangement are unknown, but with Milwaukee over the cap, it is more than likely for the veteran’s minimum. The team does still have the Room Exception available, but it would be surprising if it was used in this instance. The addition of Novak would give the team 15 players under contract, which is the regular season maximum.

Milwaukee is seeking to add veteran leadership to its bench, which also prompted the reported signing of Jason Terry, notes Gardner. The Bucks currently have the youngest roster in the league and the additions of the 38-year-old Terry and 33-year-old Novak would bring some balance and leadership to the locker room, Gardner adds. Novak has worked with the Bucks medical and training staff this summer to rehab the sprained left MCL that prematurely ended his season and his deal would be finalized  after receiving medical clearance, a team source told Gardner.

Novak has garnered some interest around the league, per his agent Mark Bartelstein, but the veteran has been holding off on making a decision because his clear preference is to remain in Milwaukee. “There have been a few teams that we’ve talked to; you always got to keep your doors open,’’ Bartelstein had said earlier this week. “But we’re still talking with the Bucks and, hopefully, we’ll make a deal with them. Steve would love to stay in Milwaukee. It’s a very special place for him.’’

The forward was the No. 32 overall pick in 2006. He has appeared in 459 career regular season games, averaging 4.7 points and 1.3 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per outing. He owns a career shooting line of .438/.431/.877.

Central Notes: Smith, Terry, Novak, Pistons

Money is the only sticking point in negotiations between J.R. Smith and the Cavaliers, writes Sam Amico of Smith wants to stay in Cleveland where he is comfortable with coach Tyronn Lue and was an important contributor to the Cavs’ championship run. The organization is happy with Smith’s clutch shooting and improved defense. However, the two sides appear to be far apart on salary, and it’s not certain that the situation will be resolved before the Cavaliers open training camp September 26th. Smith, who turns 31 next month, made $5MM last season. He has reportedly seen his bargaining power weakened by a lack of interest from other teams.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks are looking for leadership by adding veterans Jason Terry and Steve Novak to the league’s youngest roster, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Terry, 38, confirmed today that he will sign with Milwaukee, and Novak, 33, is expected to re-sign soon after spending the end of last season with the Bucks.
  • The Pistons expect to have about $5MM in cap room next summer, but several decisions could push that number higher or lower, states Aaron McMann of MLive. The $5MM figure assumes that Detroit picks up the options on Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard and that Aron Baynes opts out of the final year of his deal. However, the Pistons still need to find a third point guard and make a decision on whether to re-sign Reggie Bullock, who will be a free agent after next season.
  • The fear of losing Baynes next summer prompted the Pistons to target Boban Marjanovic, writes Keith Langlois of Detroit offered Marjanovic an offer sheet worth $21MM over three years, and the Spurs, who didn’t have his Bird rights, declined to match. Marjanovic has limited NBA experience, and coach/executive Stan Van Gundy credits extensive scouting work for enabling the Pistons to identify him as a worthwhile prospect.

Eastern Notes: Novak, Embiid, Bullock

Despite receiving interest from a few other teams, unrestricted free agent forward Steve Novak is still hoping that the Bucks will re-sign him, Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times writes. “There have been a few teams that we’ve talked to; you always got to keep your doors open,’’ Novak’s agent, Mark Bartelstein said. “But we’re still talking with the Bucks and, hopefully, we’ll make a deal with them. Steve would love to stay in Milwaukee. It’s a very special place for him.’’

Bucks co-owner Jamie Dinan had indicated back in May that he would like to re-sign Novak. Milwaukee currently has 13 players under contract, as Roster Resource shows, so there is room for the veteran shooter if the team does indeed want him back. Novak only appeared in three games with Milwaukee after signing with the team in February before a sprained left MCL prematurely ended his season.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers center Joel Embiid remains one of the games more intriguing talents despite not having played in a game that counts in over two years, Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine writes. If he can remain healthy and maximize his potential, Embiid has the talent to change not just Philadelphia’s fortunes, but how the game is played in the NBA as well, Bodner opines.
  • While no formal talks have been held, the Pistons are considering a contract extension for Reggie Bullock prior to the October 31st deadline, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press relays. One concern regarding any extension with the swingman is the team’s proximity to the luxury tax line, a threshold that owner Tom Gores is willing to cross if it helps the team take the next step forward, Ellis adds. “Look, if we weren’t building a core, there’s really no point in paying the luxury tax,” Gores said. “Because we are building a core, would I do it? Yeah, absolutely. So you say go into the luxury tax for nothing, then that would be silly because then we’re putting the franchise behind. But given that we have such a good core, if that’s what it took, and we feel we’ve made such progress this year, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it because we want to keep getting better.”

Free Agent Notes: T. Robinson, K. Martin, Waiters

David Lee is one of the more noteworthy scoring big men remaining on the free agent market, while Alan Anderson and Steve Novak are among the veteran shooters still available. All three players are in talks with multiple teams, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, though Bartelstein doesn’t specify potential suitors for his clients.

Although free agent spending this summer has reached new highs, we’re at the point in the offseason where most veteran free agents left on the market – especially players like Lee, Anderson and Novak, who were sidelined by injuries last season – will have trouble finding deals worth more than the minimum. Many teams don’t even have roster spots available for another guaranteed contract or two, so we’ll have to wait and see if those veterans (and others) will be able to find new homes in the coming days or weeks.

Let’s check in on some other free agent updates from around the NBA:

  • After opting out of his contract with the Nets last month, Thomas Robinson has drawn interest from the Pacers, Suns, and Hawks, league sources tell Amico. Robinson’s player option for 2016/17 was worth the minimum, so if he can land a guaranteed offer, it won’t have been a mistake to turn down that option.
  • Free agent guard Kevin Martin has received some interest from the Clippers, Bulls, and Pistons, according to Amico. Chicago and Detroit both have fewer than 15 guaranteed contracts on their books, and still have their $2.9MM room exception available.
  • One free agent who should be in line for a deal worth significantly more than the minimum is Dion Waiters, who is now unrestricted. However, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman notes that Waiters hasn’t generated the sort of interest he had hoped to, and wonders if the 24-year-old’s disastrous final three games against Golden State hurt his stock.