Steve Novak 'anticipated' Lin back

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
3:45
PM ET
In Feb. 2011, Steve Novak and Jeremy Lin played one game together as members of the Reno Bighorns in the D-League. Then in mid-December, eight days apart, they both became Knicks teammates and enjoyed a magical ride this past season -- going from after-thoughts to global headliners.

Asked about Lin's departure, Novak said that he's losing "a good friend."

"That was the main reason I wanted him to come back," the sharpshooter told ESPN New York. "He is obviously a great player and was a huge part of my ... our success this year, so seeing him leave hurts that much more. I also understand the Knicks were given a very difficult choice, so I understand that side. All that being said, I hope this is what is best for Jeremy, but I selfishly wanted him to be back with the Knicks."

Novak said that he expected Lin back, but it wasn't the only reason why he wanted to return -- even though they found a connection on the court together. Novak broke out in early February at about the same time as Lin. During their roughly 25 games together in February and March, while Lin averaged 18.5 points and 7.7 assists per game, Novak made 77 3-pointers at an incredible 48.7 percent rate.

"In free agency, you have to do what you feel is best for your family and I believe being here was," Novak said. "I definitely anticipated Jeremy being back, but it wasn't the only reason I came back."

Novak, who signed a four-year, $15 million contract with the Knicks, is currently in New York all week at Sleepy Hollow High School, where he's hosting a basketball camp for kids fourth grade through high school.

Does he teach the campers the "Mr. Discount Triple Check" celebration he does occasionally after hitting a three?

"Better believe it," he said.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2