UPDATE: Steve Novak has officially signed with the Bucks and is practicing with the team Monday morning, reports CF Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Steve Novak has signed with Bucks and is on floor practicing at team shootaround this morning. Chris Copeland released.
— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) February 22, 2016
Steve Novak has officially cleared waivers and will join the Milwaukee Bucks.
David Lee is Dallas-bound, Steve Novak is headed for Milwaukee and now San Antonio will try to convince Anderson Varejao to spurn the champs
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2016
Novak, who starred at Brown Deer High School and Marquette, was traded to Denver from Oklahoma City at Thursday’s deadline as part of a package centered around Randy Foye.
In order to clear a roster spot for Novak, the Bucks, as expected, have released Chris Copeland, according to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Bucks have released F Chris Copeland, league source tells @clevelanddotcom.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 21, 2016
The 32-year-old Novak appeared in only seven games for the Thunder this season after seeing time in 35 combined games for Utah and Oklahoma City in 2014-15.
Slow-footed on the defensive end, Novak has been relegated to a reduced, three-point specialist role over the past three seasons. He’s a career 43.2% shooter from beyond the arc and at the peak of his powers led the NBA in three-point percentage (47.2%, 5.2 attempts/game) as a member of the Knicks in 2011-12.
Jason Kidd was a teammate of Novak’s in New York the following season, when Novak appeared in 81 games and averaged more than 20 minutes per game for a Knicks team that won 54 games before being bounced by Indiana in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. That season would prove to be Novak’s last as a consistent rotational player, as he was traded to Toronto in the offseason as part of the Andrea Bargnani deal. Novak would go on to play only 40 games for Toronto in 2013-14.
It’s difficult to imagine Novak making a significant impact for the Bucks this season, but among the things Kidd has proven during his tenure is that he’s not afraid to employ a deep rotation. While that hasn’t necessarily been the case quite as often of late, the addition of a true three-point threat could prompt Kidd to reevaluate. At 6-10, Novak can play both forward spots and would, on paper at least, look to be a nice complement offensively when the spacing-deprived Antetokounmpo/Parker/Carter-Williams trio is on the floor.
It remains to be seen whether Novak will even be able to work his way into the rotation over the final 26 games, but Milwaukee, which ranks ahead of only Minnesota in made threes, is certainly not in a position to turn down adding a perimeter marksman.
That’s what the Bucks thought they’d found in Copeland, who signed as a free agent this summer. However, the 31-year-old proved far too vulnerable defensively and quickly fell out of the rotation after starting on opening night in place of the suspended Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Copeland played in only 24 games for Milwaukee, rarely seeing non-garbage-time minutes after the first month of the season. Despite his reputation as a shooter, Copeland converted just 27.8% (10-36) of his threes, which accounted for more than two-thirds of his shot attempts.
A journeyman whose NBA career began late, Copeland likely won’t draw much interest as a late-season addition and could find his options limited to playing overseas or in the D-League.