New York Knicks forward Larry Hughes driving between the Los...

New York Knicks forward Larry Hughes driving between the Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon, left, and forward Steve Novak in the second quarter. (March 25, 2009) Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Unless they add another player on Christmas Eve, the Knicks' opening day roster is set.

Steve Novak, a 6-10 forward from Marquette, practiced with the team Friday after the Knicks claimed him on waivers from the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

"I couldn't have been happier,'' said Novak, 28, in his sixth NBA season. "To get a call from New York, it's something you dream about as a little kid no matter where you're from. It's just a special place to be.

"You get to a place and say, 'Wow, they have really good fans.' Here, I feel the city, everyone's a fan. You feel the energy. Every cab driver I've had is talking about the Knicks. It's just different here.''

As a three-point specialist, Novak could replace Shawne Williams in the rotation once he's up to speed. Coach Mike D'Antoni didn't know if he will be acclimated enough to contribute in Sunday's season opener against the Celtics.

"I'd be a little afraid Sunday and as we go forward get more comfortable with what he can do," he said. "Also looking on the court seeing what we need at that time and what he can give you -- whether we tap into it immediately or wait and get more comfortable with the system, I don't know."

D'Antoni did seem optimistic that injured players Bill Walker, Jared Jeffries and Mike Bibby will be available Sunday. Walker (groin) practiced for the first time in two weeks. Jeffries (calf) and Bibby (back) sat out Friday but could practice Saturday.


Scouting retortWith the shortened preseason, D'Antoni probably hasn't had a lot of time to look at scouting reports of upcoming opponents. When asked his thoughts about where the Celtics are heading into the opener, he said, "I have no idea where they are, to be honest with you, other than New England."

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