Bits from Steve Novak Interview, 7/14
How did you find out about the trade?
Honestly, it was crazy. I’ve been traded before, but this [time] was definitely craziest for me, I think mainly because it happened on the Fourth of July, so I just didn’t expect, I guess, now that I think back, obviously I was with a team out of the country in Toronto, so it made sense. But on the Fourth of July, I just didn’t assume the GMs were even doing anything.
And I got a, I was actually at a restaurant on the Fourth getting some ice cream with some friends, and I got a text from Kyle Lowry, who was our point guard in Toronto. And he just texted me, “Damn.” And I texted him back, “Damn what?”
And I had just been texting with him back and forth, because the day, a day or two before, ’cause he had just signed his contract extension. It was, we were joking with each other, so I didn’t know if that was, like, got delayed, or he just had something else to say.
And then he texted me back, “You just got traded to Utah.” And so I called him right away, ’cause I was like, “Come on, stop.” Like, this is the Fourth of July, don’t mess with me.
And next thing you know, I was talking with Dennis Lindsey and got a call from [Raptors GM] Masai [Ujiri], and my agent called, and I knew it was a done deal.
Summary of his career
I’ve been in some very different situations. I think when I was younger, it’s just, you’re s–you’re learning so much and trying to figure out if you’re good enough and trying to figure out, you know, what’s next and all that kind of thing. And then, for me, it really was kind of, like, a five-year journey to get to New York.
I went through Houston for two years, the Clippers for two years, and then I split my fifth season between Dallas and San Antonio. And then after that year, going into my sixth year, I went to New York, and I ended up spending two years there. That was really, for me, r–my opportunity that I finally got to, I felt like, really prove who I was.
It was a system that was really good for me, under Mike D’Antoni, and you know, we had some, we had a lot of good things going at the right time. I think, you know, J.R. Smith played his butt off during that time, and obviously Jeremy Lin had Linsanity, and we just had a great group. So for me, that was kind of my proving myself, my coming-out party.
And then, you know, going to Toronto, I didn’t play as many minutes. And I feel like now, you know, this is an opportunity for me to prove, like, “Hey, you know, that New York stint for me wasn’t just an accident.” You know, it was something I can do.
And I think under Quin Snyder, the way he plays, and I played against him when I was at Marquette and he was at Missouri in the NCAA tournament, and then I also played against him when he was in the D-League with the Austin Toros, and I just think we’re gonna be a much, much more up-tempo offense. In the last year, we were, like, 25th in pace, and I think this year we’re gonna be, you know, much, much faster pace that that.
Is the veteran leader role something you embrace at this point in your career?
It is. It’s something new for me, and I think it comes out quickly for most NBA vets, because, I mean, we still feel young.* … I just turned 31, and I guess I don’t consider that very old.
But two years ago when I was in New York, I was the third youngest guy on the team. It was, like, Iman Shumpert, Chris Copeland and me, and then there was 12 guys older than me. And then I got traded to Toronto, and it was like, I was literally the oldest guy on the team before we made a trade for, you know, Chuck Hayes and John Salmons and those guys.
So, it happened for me, like, crazy quick, where all of a sudden you’re a security blank, [where] all the guys who you look to and have had more experience are gone, and now that becomes you. So for me, that happened in Toronto, where I really felt, that was the first time I felt like, you know, a vet. Like, I should have a greater presence in the locker room in terms of being vocal and, you know, talking to the young guys, because you realize you actually have been through a lot more than they have. …
Talking with Dennis Lindsey, you know, he talked about that a lot, and I think that will be a big part of my role here.
What number will you be wearing?
I have requested–I think it’s a lock–No. 16, which was, I was No. 16 in New York and Toronto, and I’m gonna keep “16” here.
On what Linsanity was like
That really was, like, I mean, I’m religious as well, and to me, it felt like it was something, you know, there was like a greater power going on. It was, I mean, it really was special. I think the, Madison Square Garden was like, the energy there was incredible, when you come off of warm-ups and, like, the whole building is there and the court is, like, lined with people.
And it’s like, you know, we’re playing the Lakers that night, and Kobe [Bryant]‘s talking trash about Jeremy Lin, saying he doesn’t know who he is, and it’s, like, Saturday night at the Garden, and Jeremy goes out and gets, like, 38 and 15 on the Lakers…
It just kept going, and I mean, there was something really, really special about it, and [Lin] played so well, and I think we as a group just clicked. And I’ve never experienced anything like that playing basketball, and I’ve never had more fun than that was. I think just the attention it drew was crazy, and New York and the country just, like, was paying full attention, and it was just fun to be a part of.
At that point, did you feel like you would be a Knick for life?
Yeah…I signed my contract the end of that year, and so once I signed that deal, yes, I did think that–you know, obviously, I mean, you look around the league and guys that play well in certain places, you know, that’s, usually they try to keep them there or that becomes a home for them.
And I had bounced around, and so it felt to me like, okay, I’ve bounced around, but now I felt I’ve found a home. And so, I mean, honestly, I hoped it was. I really did. I absolutely love New York and I thought that that was a home for me, ’cause that was the longest extension I had ever signed.
It was four years, and, but a year after I signed, I was traded. And I mean, I knew that that’s how the business worked, obviously, but…it was very much a surprise for me, ’cause you assume they give you an extension, they want you there. But you’re still kind of a poker piece sometimes.
** Has a wife, a four-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.
Are you an outdoor guy? Do you like to fly fish, snow ski, water ski, hike, mountain bike…?
I wanted to get a scooter this summer, like a literal scooter. It would’ve been pretty hilarious, like the ones you see little kids on…I saw one at the New York Auto Show that was, like, battery-powered. It went, like, 20 miles per hour. I was like, “There, perfect. I can ride that with my son. It’ll be awesome. I can cruise around if I want.”
And I just ran it by the team, ’cause I knew, like, no motorcycles and stuff, so I just wanted to be sure. And they were like, “No way. Like, it falls under the, Paragraph 12, ‘You are not allowed to have that.'”…We’re not allowed to do anything. No skiing, no paragliding, no jetskiing, no running too fast. (1280)