The Milwaukee Bucks announced Monday they released forward Chris Copeland, making room on their 15-man roster to sign Steve Novak.
“Steve has always been a terrific shooter from distance,” general manager John Hammond said in a statement. “He’s a great teammate who can provide some veteran leadership to our young roster, and we’re excited to welcome him back to Milwaukee.”
Copeland, 31, averaged 2.1 points and 0.5 assists while shooting 33.3 percent from the floor this season. He appeared in only 24 games and hadn't received double-digit minutes since Nov. 21. Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com previously reported the move was coming Sunday.
Copeland signed a one-year, $1.15 million contract with Milwaukee last July. He had spent the previous two years with the Indiana Pacers, largely disappointing after signing a deal as a restricted free agent. After emerging as a strong knockdown shooter during his one-year stint with the New York Knicks, Copeland's splits have been in a free fall ever since. He hit just 31.1 percent of his threes last season and was down to 27.8 percent in Milwaukee.
With Copeland acting as a glorified turnstile on defense and lacking shot-creation skills, there wasn't much reason to keep him around if his shot kept rimming out. Novak hasn't been a legitimate NBA contributor in two years, but he can at the very least shoot. He is a career 43.2 shooter from distance; 1,325 of his 1,704 career shots have come from behind the arc.
Waived by the Denver Nuggets after being acquired in a deadline deal from Oklahoma City, Novak will be relinking with former Knicks teammate Jason Kidd. Novak had one of his most successful seasons with Kidd feeding him the ball, and the Bucks coach may wind up finding a way to deploy him.
From an outside perspective, though, this just feels like end-of-the-bench shuffling that will do nothing to help or hurt Milwaukee's chances.