LeBron James
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

After criticizing the New York Knicks for passing on Dennis Smith Jr. back in November, LeBron James decided to praise the point guard New York did take — Frank Ntilikina. James is more neutral about that billboard trying to recruit him to play in the Big Apple.

LeBron James has had a complicated relationship with the New York Knicks during his 15 seasons in the NBA. He’s never shown a great interest in playing for them, but whenever he comes to Madison Square Garden it’s one of the biggest spectacles of the year.

That was certainly the case back in Nov. when James praised Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. by telling reporters the “Knicks passed on a really good one.” In doing so, James took not only a shot at the franchise but at Frank Ntilikina — the point guard they actually drafted.

In advance of the King’s Monday night game in New York, he appears to have changed his tune on Frank. According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Frank “knows how to play the game” and “his offensive game is getting better.”

James didn’t stop with his praise of Ntlikina, though. He was also asked about the famous billboardpurchased by NYC Ads Co. to recruit the 33-year-old to finally come to New York. He was much more diplomatic on that subject.

Sorry Knicks fans, it seems like a long shot.

The Knicks host LeBron and the Cavs at 7:30 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden.

I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for EliteSportsNY.com. I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: chip.murphy@elitesportsny.com Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.