The New York Knicks are in an interesting spot, with high hopes for free agency in July looming over everything else within the program. However, there are still players on the roster charged with finishing out the 2018-19 season and a handful, including Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr., are young and intriguing.
In addition, 2017 lottery pick Frank Ntilikina would seemingly fit the mold of a player that the Knicks would seek to develop in the coming weeks but, in recent days, the 20-year-old has been unavailable with injury. Now, interesting rumblings have emerged about his future.
Marc Berman of the New York Post brings word that the Knicks “will explore their options on draft night with Ntilikina” and, beyond that, the Knicks “would consider” a move that would send the former No. 8 overall pick elsewhere in exchange for a first-round selection. Given Ntilikina’s lack of impact to this point in his young professional career, it isn’t a shock to hear that New York would explore the market and, if the Knicks are seeking even more salary cap flexibility, that could also contribute to movement.
Still, Ntilikina hasn’t been put in anything close to an ideal situation, as he was drafted under the Phil Jackson regime as a “triangle point guard” and the youngster operates in a grey area with regard to position. Defensively, he has the tools to be an absolute terror on the perimeter but, on the other end, he’s been rather inefficient (6.7 PER and 43 percent true shooting for his career), which makes any further investment more difficult for the team.
If the Knicks elect to move Ntilikina in the near future, it will be interesting to see what the market dictates concerning his value but there are plenty of teams that would potentially be interested in the services of a talented and youthful guard with his tools. Ntilikina, who hasn’t played in the last 17 games, may have the opportunity to improve his stock down the stretch if healthy but, given where the Knicks are looking to live after this summer, the stars may align for a deal and a fresh start for both parties.