The New York Knicks didn’t deal Frank Ntilikina at the trade deadline, but they reportedly were shopping him for a first-round pick.
New York Knicks fans were impressed when Thursday’s deadline passed, and guard Frank Ntilikina was still on the team. But Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports the team was indeed shopping him, for a first-round pick:
Point guards the Knicks have started above Frank Ntilikina: Ramon Sessions, Jarrett Jack, Trey Burke, Emmanuel Mudiay, Dennis Smith Jr.
Source said they shopped him but were holding firm at a first-round pick in return.
How about giving him a real chance?
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) February 8, 2019
It’s the first report that New York was shopping Ntilikina ahead of the deadline. But Ian Begley reported Thursday that the Orlando Magic had reached out about a potential deal:
Orlando expressed interest in Frank Ntilikina prior to the trade deadline but was told that New York was not trading the second-year guard, per league sources.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 7, 2019
Ntilikina, in his second year, is averaging just 5.9 points and 2.8 assists per game. A defensive standout, New York has failed to develop him fully as a prospect, specifically on offense.
So it’s no wonder that at least one team reached out to New York regarding his availability. But, to Knicks fans likely dismay, it appears the team is ready to move on from Ntilikina for the right price.
It’s likely New York will revisit shopping the guard once the season ends, and see if they can net a first-round pick ahead of the draft. Many teams could use his defensive presence, and could be willing to take a chance on the 20-year old.
The only thing that stands out about these two reports, is that in actuality, Orlando did trade for a young guard. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Thursday that Philadelphia guard Markelle Fultz is headed to the Magic:
The Magic are sending Jonathan Simmons, a first-round and a second-round pick to the Sixers, per sources. https://t.co/f724l2eSVS
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 7, 2019
Orlando acquired the former first overall pick in exchange for Jonathon Simmons, a future first-round pick, and a future second-round pick. It’s funny to think that the Magic and Knicks couldn’t come to a deal over those terms.
Fultz is a former number one pick, but has played just 33 games over two seasons with the 76ers. He was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in December, but was expected to return this year for Philadelphia.
Maybe the Magic wouldn’t give up a first for Frank, the eighth overall pick in 2017. Instead, they gave one up for a guy who isn’t playing basketball.
So, take Bondy’s report with a grain of salt Knicks fans. Yes, they were shopping Frank Ntilikina. But no, they wouldn’t take anything less in return than what they think the guard is worth.
New York will look to snap a 14-game losing streak on Friday night when they host the Toronto Raptors. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET.