Could World Cup Affect Frank Ntilikina’s Future?

Generally speaking, the success of an NBA player during FIBA play has little bearing on that player’s ability to compete and prosper at the NBA level. As those in the know will readily opine, the games are different, with different rules and different styles of play.

But because NBA teams only have until October 31 to exercise their team options for first-round draft picks for the following season, the 2019 FIBA World Cup could be of the utmost importance for Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

As Bondy notes, the Knicks have to decide by Halloween whether or not to guarantee Ntilikina’s $6.18MM salary for the 2021/21 season, leaving little time for New York to assess the 21-year-old year old Frenchman in NBA action, as the season doesn’t start until October 22.

Should the Knicks not exercise the option, Ntilikina becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020, so assessing his play during the World Cup may be an avenue the Knicks’ explore while making a decision on the option.

Ntilikina has admittedly struggled to crack the Knicks’ rotation since being drafted several years ago, but it’s hard to imagine the Knicks letting him and his potential walk away next summer for nothing when the only cost for keeping him is a relatively minor cap hit at a time (summer of 2020) when there is such a dearth of talent in the free agency class.

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6 thoughts on “Could World Cup Affect Frank Ntilikina’s Future?

  1. Norm Chouinard

    A strong World Cup would probably facilitate a trade that the NYK would be happy to do. Barring injuries, he is buried on their depth chart. Shot the bell and defended well in the first 2 games against inferior competition.

  2. Tazza

    Just trade him and give him a chance somewhere else.

    Frank Ntilikina for Yogi Ferrell and Caleb Swanigan.
    Frank Ntilikina and a second for Malik Monk
    Frank Ntilikina and a second for Jerome Robinson
    Frank Ntilikina and a second for Donte DiVenczo

    • phillyballers

      The Knicks win in every one of those trades, so they wont happen. Protected 2nd is his value atm.

    • Natergater77

      Why on Earth would the King’s make that trade?

      It’s nice to hypothesize trades, but fans have to remember that the other team needs value in return as well.

      • Tazza

        Why wouldn’t the kings make that trade? Ferrell is a 3rd string PG and Swanigan is like a 5th string PF who only featured in 3 games last year. Atleast Ntilikina has potential and could develop. If he doesn’t develop you’ve still got a really good defender.
        As for those other trades they were kinda hopeful deals. I thought the hornets could do with a back up for Rozier and Monk hasn’t proved himself to be that good yet. Robinson has struggled to get game time at the clippers so he would be a buy low player. DiVi was my last choice, think he’s a decent prospect but the bucks have a few SGs and behind Bledsoe and Hill could’ve done with a young PG

  3. Different situation than most. FIBA matters for Frank (and the Knicks in terms of his trade value) because of the horrific job the Knicks have done with him the past 2 seasons. It’s not about anyone thinking his FIBA performance will be his NBA performance. Just about seeing him on the court in an organized team structure, with a role and the minutes to fill it. The Knicks didn’t provide that to him (or many others) last year, and wouldn’t send him to the G-league just make sure it was a wasted season.

    Regardless of what happens at FIBA, the Knicks have set up another buy high, sell low, situation with Frank, but FIBA might mitigate it.

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