He’s the type of young talent on a cheap contract that could benefit from a change of scenery, Ellis notes.
The Knicks have a logjam at the point but the Pistons, who hope to go deeper in the postseason, have three veteran point guards so they’re not desperately seeking alternatives at the moment.
Reggie Jackson, who is making $18.1MM this season and is on an expiring contract, is the starter. Derrick Rose, who signed a two-year free agent deal, is projected to lead the second unit. The Pistons also added another point guard, Tim Frazier, via free agency this summer.
It’s feasible the Pistons could trade for Ntilikina and give him a one-season look to see if he’d fit their long-term plans once Jackson hits free agency.
Ntilikina is making $4.85MM this season and the team holds a $6.177MM option on his contract for next season. The deadline for exercising that option is the last day of this month. It’s unlikely New York will do so, which would push Ntilikina into free agency next summer.
Despite a strong showing in the FIBA World Cup, Ntilikina has an uncertain future in New York. The Knicks drafted RJ Barrett and also have Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. vying for minutes at the point. They shopped Ntilikina throughout the summer but couldn’t find a suitable deal.