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.