The Raptors have agreed to trade veteran forward Steve Novak and a future second-round pick to the Jazz in exchange for guard Diante Garrett, according to Yahoo Sports and the Deseret News. The trade is expected to go official after the NBA's free agency moratorium is lifted on July 10.
Novak, 31, averaged 3.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 54 appearances for Toronto in 2013-14. A three-point specialist who led the league with a 47.2 three-point percentage in 2011-12, Novak was acquired by Toronto from New York in a 2013 trade for Andrea Bargnani. Although he spent some time in coach Dwane Casey's rotation early in the season, he saw his role reduced following the Dec. 2013 trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento and landed Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes.
Garrett, 25, averaged 3.5 points and 1.7 assists in 71 appearances for Utah last season. His contract for next season is non-guaranteed, and Toronto is expected to release him.
This move amounts to a clean salary dump for Toronto, as Novak was on the books for $3.4 million in 2014-15 and $3.8 million in 2015-16, with both years fully guaranteed. Something had to give financially for the Raptors given GM Masai Ujiri's aggressive start to free agency, which has included trading Salmons for Lou Williams, agreeing to re-sign Kyle Lowry to a four-year, $48 million contract, and agreeing to re-sign Patterson to a three-year deal. Toronto still wants to re-sign reserve point guard Greivis Vasquez, and moving out Novak's contract number without taking on any money in return puts Ujiri in position to make that happen without running up a major luxury tax bill. Novak was likely going to remain on the outside looking in minutes-wise, with starter Amir Johnson, Patterson and Hayes all in position to claim frontcourt minutes next year.
Utah's thinking here falls completely under the "Why not?" umbrella. The Jazz are well under the salary cap with no major deadweight deals on their books. They can easily afford to add Novak, even though big man Derrick Favors' eight-figure extension kicks in for the 2014-15 season and restricted free agent forward Gordon Hayward is expected to get a major payday this summer. A stretch forward like Novak will give first-year coach Quin Snyder a different look alongside Favors and Enes Kanter inside, and Novak's acquisition doesn't cut into the minutes required by guard Dante Exum and small forward Rodney Hood, Utah's two 2014 first-round picks. An injection of perimeter shooting will also be welcomed, as the Jazz ranked No. 25 in three-point percentage last season and face the possible departure of unrestricted free agent forward Marvin Williams.