Knicks Expected To Shop Frank Ntilikina

Frank Ntilikina made a three-pointer against the Nuggets in the first quarter of the road loss last week and that bucket may be his last as a member of the Knicks.

Ntilikina, who has nursed a groin injury for the majority of 2019, has been shut down for the season, and according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the team is expected to shop the former No. 8 overall pick this summer. Marc Berman of The New York Post previously reported that the Knicks would be willing to deal Ntilikina for a first-round pick.

New York’s point guard situation will be a top offseason storyline. The franchise traded for Dennis Smith in the Kristaps Porzingis deal and former No. 7 overall pick Emmanuel Mudiay found a mini-resurgence during his first full season with the club. While GM Scott Perry is responsible for bringing in both players, the front office won’t hesitate to put those two in the backseat and let Kyrie Irving drive the offense should the six-time All-Star decide that the orange-and-blue is his jersey of choice.

The Knicks are expected to pursue Irving this summer, though they won’t be alone. Their crosstown rival is also expected to be among the teams that make a run at him and some sources around the league tell Bondy that Irving actually prefers the Nets over the Knicks. Brooklyn already has an All-Star point guard in D’Angelo Russell, though it’s feasible that the team could look to coordinate a backcourt with both players.

During a recent NBA TV interview, former Cavs GM David Griffin suggested that Brooklyn was the more attractive situation to Irving. “I think Brooklyn is the fit that’s better for [Irving] in terms of his mindset,” Griffin said. “I think he likes what they’ve done there, culturally.”

Ntilikina’s future in New York doesn’t appear to be directly tied to Irving’s decision, as the team will shop him regardless of whether they land the Uncle Drew star.

The 20-year-old point guard is focused on getting healthy. He wants to play for France in the FIBA World Cup in August. Teams can’t flat out restrict players from playing internationally but they can strongly encourage or suggest that they should not.

“You can’t really dictate it. You can only suggest,” coach David Fizdale said. “I just think it depends on where the guy is at personally and how many years they have in their career. And what he necessarily needs in the summer. Some guys need to play games. And other guys need court work and drills with the coaches.”

Ntilikina skipped the World Cup qualifiers last offseason to train with the Knicks and it’s unclear whether New York will lobby for Ntilikina to avoid the risk of further injury and stay home during the international tournament. Then again, by the time August comes around, that could be another organization’s issue.

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