2:01pm: The Knicks have made it official, announcing that they’ve picked up the 2020/21 options on Ntilikina, Smith, and Knox.
12:31pm: The Knicks will exercise Frank Ntilikina‘s fourth-year option for the 2020/21 season, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The team is also picking up its fourth-year option on Dennis Smith Jr. and its third-year option on Kevin Knox, as expected, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.
Of the three option decisions, the one on Ntilikina was the only one that was up in the air leading up to the October 31 deadline. The former eighth overall pick has been somewhat underwhelming in his first two seasons, averaging 5.9 PPG and 3.1 APG on .354/.305/.735 shooting in 121 games (21.6 MPG) for the Knicks.
However, Ntilikina had a strong showing for France in the 2019 FIBA World Cup last month and has been more aggressive on offense for New York this preseason, as Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic detailed last week. As such, the Knicks were willing to lock in his $6,176,578 cap hit for the 2020/21 season. The 21-year-old is now on track to reach restricted free agency in 2021 if he doesn’t sign an extension next year.
As for Smith and Knox, those option decision were simpler ones. Smith, who was selected one spot after Ntilikina in 2017’s draft, will count against the cap for $5,686,677 in ’20/21, while Knox will have a $4,588,680 charge.
We’re tracking all of the decisions on 2020/21 rookie scale team options right here.