New York Knicks Need to Bring Steve Novak Back Next Season

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIMay 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 29:  Steve Novak #16 of the New York Knicks shoots a three pointer against Antawn Jamison #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on February 29, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Could it be that the beloved Steve Novak might play his last game with the New York Knicks in Game 4 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat?

According to Mark Hale of the New York Post, the Knicks may not be able to re-sign one of the NBA's best three-point shooters following the 2012 playoffs.

The Knicks don't have much cap space to go around, as their mid-level exception will most likely go to Jeremy Lin.

They do have a $2 million bi-annual exception though. That may not be enough money to retain the league-leader in three-point shooting, as other teams with more cap space will be vying for Novak's services on the open market.

Novak made $1 million in 2012, giving the Knicks a great bang for their buck, as he quickly showed his impeccable 47 percent clip from three was not a fluke.

He's had a rough series against the Heat. That can be largely attributed to Dwyane Wade's insane close-out speed that has helped hold Novak to just nine points for the entire series. 

Why is Wade so fast? It's not even fair. Novak never had a chance to put together a good series with his college teammate locking him down.

When asked if he was interested in returning to New York next season, Novak said this:

“Absolutely,” Novak told The Post yesterday. “Without a doubt. This has been a really good year. I think obviously speaking exactly where we’re at now, we’re down 0-3 and things don’t seem as good. But I feel like we’ve done good things and we’ve made big steps.”

He also said, “More than anything, I just have loved playing basketball here.”

The Knicks have numerous players other than Novak and Lin who are set to be free agents, including Landry Fields, J.R. Smith and Jared Jeffries.

Smith will probably sign elsewhere, presumably after he demands more than he is worth from the Knicks, making the decision easy for the front office (until they watch this again).

Fields has showed signs of regression, but displays spurts of quality basketball, particularly when Carmelo Anthony is on the bench.

Jeffries is the second-best defensive specialist on the team behind Tyson Chandler, and he seriously loves playing with the Knicks. There's no way to deny that, as he stuck with the team through the Isiah Thomas years.

The three-ball is such a huge part of the game now. It can instantly start a run or end one. It's a huge part of the momentum aspect of basketball, and Novak can shoot with the best of them. 

Novak's worth can't be overstated, as he has become one of the most dead-on shooters in the NBA.

With Smith's three-point shooting most likely out of the mix, the Knicks would need to make a push to sign Novak in order to spread the floor and endure continued success. 

Here's the problem with that: The Knicks have a set amount that they can spend on Novak, so it's really up to him whether he wants to take a pay cut to continue playing in Madison Square Garden on a nightly basis.