Milwaukee Bucks Sign Steve Novak, Release Chris Copeland

Oct 13, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Steve Novak (16) warms up prior to the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Steve Novak (16) warms up prior to the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

After an unclear Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks have now definitely signed Steve Novak and released Chris Copeland.

Now that Charles Gardner has confirmed them, the Milwaukee Bucks latest two transactions are essentially official. Steve Novak has been signed, and Chris Copeland is done in Milwaukee.

Before that Gardner-bomb dropped this morning, there was some confusion about what Milwaukee had done–or not done–over the past 36 hours or so.

Marc Stein was the one who first reported Novak would be a Buck, and he doubled down on that Sunday when he tweeted the following:

That’s hardly a confirmation of a signing, however. Everyone knew Novak would be a Buck, but there had not been a tweet confirming that he actually signed in Milwaukee.

Then Brian Windhorst followed up that Stein tweet with another in the same vein, this one confirming that Copeland would likely be released.

Again, that’s not incorrect information (I wrote as much before that story went up) but it’s also not a confirmation.

So that tweet from Charles Gardner this morning was important in the sense that he was the first to actually confirm those things had happened.

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Contract details have yet to surface, but it’s safe to assume the deal is fairly cheap for NBA standards. If Novak was signed using the minimum salary exception for the rest of the season at his minimum rate, he’ll make some fraction of $1,499,187 depending on how the length of the NBA season is calculated.

That’s one of just three ways the Bucks can sign Novak for since the team is above the $70 million salary cap this season. As always, the following cap information all comes from Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ.

The other two are the bi-annual exception and the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. Both of those would run the Bucks more than the minimum exception, obviously.

The bi-annual exception is so named because it can not be used in consecutive seasons. It’s not likely to be used on Novak for three reasons.

First off, it would pay Novak some fraction of $2,139,000. That’s more than the minimum exception, and given Novak’s low value it’s doubtful that he’s going to get any more than the minimum.

If Milwaukee used the bi-annual exception the team also faces two other consequences. It would prevent the Bucks from using it next season, and also cap them off for the year. That’s a lot of freedom to give up for Steve Novak, so the bi-annual exception was likely not used.

The only other option was the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which was almost certainly not used in its entirety to sign Novak. The Bucks would have to pay Novak some fraction of $5,464,000, which is a ridiculous amount for a player who’s been on the floor for just 24 minutes this season.

The non-taxpayer mid-level exception can be split between multiple players though, meaning if Novak has an exceptional agent he could’ve pushed for more than the minimum.

However it happened exactly, Steve Novak is now a Buck. The real question is if he’ll be any more effective than Copeland was.

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Both players are known primarily as shooters who play no defense, but one is from Wisconsin and one is not. There’s also the fact that Copeland wasn’t even managing to shoot efficiently with the Bucks, while Novak has kept his shooting percentages high even in spot minutes.

It’s certainly possible that Novak is able to provide what Copeland could not and make a healthy amount of threes in a bench role. Novak did hardly play in Oklahoma City this season, but in fairness to him that team is stacked.

Next: A Summer Of Point Guard Decisions Awaits The Bucks

The Bucks are not, and Novak will have a chance to prove he can still play at the NBA level. Hopefully he adds more to Milwaukee than Chris Copeland did.