As the trade deadline approaches, the New York Knicks are reportedly contemplating moving Frank Ntilikina.
Trade rumors have surrounded Frank Ntilikina for the better part of the last two seasons and they’re back once again. According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the New York Knicks are open to the idea of moving Ntilikina.
“New York has been looking to trade Ntilikina going back to last spring and is now again looking for a new home for him, according to league sources,” wrote Deveney.
As we’ve seen in the past, the Knicks won’t trade Ntilikina unless it’s for the right price. Although the French point guard is currently battling Dennis Smith Jr. for second-unit minutes while Elfrid Payton leads the starters, Ntilikina’s value is higher than it was last season.
After his eye-opening performance at the FIBA World Cup and some strong showings in November and December, Ntilikina is proving that he has a place in the NBA. Whether that’s as a point guard or off the ball is a different story, but he’s proved that he can be a rotational player in the right situation.
He’s averaging 5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, but understanding his game goes much deeper than reading box scores. He shut down Luka Doncic in critical fourth-quarter moments twice in November. Those two wins make up 29% of the team’s wins so far this season and they were prime examples of the kind of elite defense the long-limbed guard possesses.
A trade could be the best scenario for all parties involved. For Ntilikina, he could go to a contender where his defense can shine. For the Knicks, a trade would free up all of the second-unit minutes for Smith. The third-year point guard was a key part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade and it would be a major win for the organization if Smith can develop into a starting-caliber point guard.
For now, the Frank Ntilikina trade rumors are just noise, but that could change in a New York minute as the Feb. 7 trade deadline draws closer.