With a sizable roster haul expected this summer, the New York Knicks face an offseason of letting go of some notable names accrued over the past few seasons.
Third-year guard Frank Ntilikina — who has been the subject of trade rumors over the past year — reinserted himself in those kinds of talks this week when he reportedly switched agents, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
The 20-year-old reportedly left Leon Rose of CAA for Frenchman Bouna Ndiaye of Comsport in an attempt to speed along his departure from New York, per Bondy.
However, the No. 8 pick in 2017 squashed any of those talks via Ndiaye, who told Marc Berman of the New York Post that Ntilikina is “extremely happy to be part of the Knicks.”
That doesn’t mean he won’t be dealt this summer, especially near the 2019 NBA Draft on Jun. 20. Ntilikina’s name came up in trade talks before the NBA’s February deadline, but the Knicks were unable to get anything done despite interest from multiple teams.
The 6-foot-6 guard’s tenure with the Knicks has been a shaky one. Though he was put behind the proverbial eight-ball the moment he was taken by the organization.
Given his raw intangibles, while playing overseas, Ntilikina was seen as a perfect candidate to run Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. But Jackson was let go just days after running the Knicks’ draft, leaving Ntilikina to struggle under the two different head coaches.
In his first two years, Ntilikina’s offensive game has struggled to keep up with his defensive prowess, averaging just 5.9 points per game.
Still, with a high ceiling given his age and size, Ntilikina is expected to garner heavy consideration on the trade market.
The Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns were just two of the teams linked to Ntilikina around the trade deadline and could circle back once again next month. Orlando acquired Markelle Fultz last season, but adding Ntilikina could provide some youthful insurance should the former No. 1 pick’s progress continue to stall.
Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Fultz’s former team, and Golden State Warriors could also inquire as they search for added point-guard depth.
The Knicks will be hoping that Ntilikina could get a late first-round or early second-round draft pick in return, per Berman.
That accrual of draft picks could be awfully important for the franchise, especially if they’re planning on trading their No. 3 pick to the New Orleans Pelicans in a hypothetical deal for Anthony Davis.
Or they could go a step further and offer Ntilikina as a part of an extensive package for Davis. It would likely include the Frenchman, the No. 3 pick, two future first rounders picked up from the Kristaps Porzingis trade, and another young talent like Kevin Knox.