They acquired 38-year-old in a sign-and-trade deal with the , with Camby agreeing to a three-year, $13.2 million contract, $10 million of which is guaranteed. The Rockets will receive Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and second-round picks in 2014 and 2015. The Knicks also sent the Rockets $2 million.
The deal came hours after the Knicks re-signed Steve Novak to a $15 million guaranteed, four-year deal. Both Camby and Novak will sign their contracts when the N.B.A. lifts its signings moratorium at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
Last season, Camby averaged 4.9 points and 9 rebounds in 59 games with the Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Camby, who played for the Knicks from 1998-2002, averaged 10.4 points and 8 rebounds during their run to the finals in the 1998-99 season. With Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and the newly obtained Jason Kidd, Camby believes the Knicks have enough players to contend for a championship.
“He’s always been a Knick at heart,” said a person involved in the negotiations. “This was a great opportunity to return to a city and fans he loves.”
Camby met with the Knicks on Sunday in Houston, a day after he declined to meet with the rival Miami Heat.
The Nets and the Dallas Mavericks were also interested in Camby.
The person involved in the negotiations said Camby talked with Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald and Allan Houston, the assistant general manager who played with Camby in 1998-99. Coach Mike Woodson was also in the discussions.
Camby, still contemplating all of his options, wrote a Twitter post Monday: “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions….”
In the end, Camby felt most comfortable with Knicks management.
“Glen Grunwald and Allan played a big role,” the person briefed on the negotiations said. The Knicks will use Camby to back up Tyson Chandler, who was the defensive player of the year last season. Before the deal was struck, Chandler said he would welcome Camby if he came to the Knicks.
“I need a backup, and I think he would be great in that position,” Chandler said Monday. “He’ll be a great addition who can rebound and still finish around the basket.”
Chandler also appreciated that the Knicks secured Novak.
“I’m glad he’s coming back,” Chandler said. “For him to have the success he had last year and be rewarded is great. He’s the best shooter in the game.”
Once a seldom-used player, Novak found his way into the rotation last season as a 3-point specialist.
As much as Knicks fans enjoyed the sudden rise of Jeremy Lin, they also were enthralled with Novak, 29, who finished the season as the N.B.A. leader in 3-point accuracy, at 47.2 percent, having made 133 of 282 attempts. His crisp shooting kept defenses honest and the driving lanes open for Lin.
“This is where he wanted to be,” said Mark Bartelstein, Novak’s agent. “He wanted to be back in New York.”
Novak improved under the former coach Mike D’Antoni. He took on an even bigger role once Lin started in February.
Before D’Antoni resigned, Novak averaged 8.3 points. Under Woodson, he averaged 9.3.
The Knicks were able to keep Novak with relative ease after an arbitrator ruled that Novak, along with Lin, was entitled to his early Bird rights since the Knicks claimed him off waivers in December. The players union’s victory allowed the Knicks to have the flexibility in payroll to re-sign Novak.
“Without us winning the arbitration case,” Bartelstein said, “it would have been almost impossible for them to re-sign Steve.”