The Knicks have 15 days to decide whether to extend Frank Ntilikina‘s rookie contract, but the 22-year-old guard still doesn’t have an established role with the team, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Given Ntilikina’s uneven NBA career so far and the logjam in the team’s backcourt, Berman believes a trade before the March deadline is more likely than an extension.
Ntilikina brushed off questions about a possible new deal, saying, “The business part is going to take care of itself. I’m here to get better every day, to get this team better.’’
Ntilikina’s chances to prove himself to new coach Tom Thibodeau might be limited. Elfrid Payton, who started the most games at point guard for the Knicks last year, re-signed during the offseason. Dennis Smith Jr. is also back, and New York added Austin Rivers in free agency.
“We have a lot of guards on this team, a lot of competitors, which is going to bring the best out of the team,’’ Ntilikina said. “We’re going to compete hard for minutes and the coach is going to decide what he wants to do. We have trust in him. He knows what he’s doing. He knows his job. So he’s going to put the best players together on the court.’’
There’s more from New York:
- Julius Randle isn’t concerned that the Knicks used their lottery pick to add Obi Toppin, a player with similar skills who may eventually replace him at power forward, Berman adds in a separate story. Many observers don’t think Randle and Toppin can be effective playing together, but Randle insists they’ll find a way. “He’s an athletic player from what I know,’’ he said. “I haven’t seen much of him. But he can shoot it and run the floor. So I think we’ll be able to complement each other very well. The game is position-less now. To have many guys be versatile and do many things is great.’’
- Team president Leon Rose reportedly had interest in bringing Carmelo Anthony, one of his former CAA clients, back to New York, but Anthony didn’t consider the move once it became clear the Knicks were going to continue with their youth movement, Berman writes in another piece. “They are rebuilding and figuring out what’s in their near future,” Anthony said. “It was me personally wanting to be part of a situation I was already comfortable with (in Portland). I just finished playing with these guys two, three months ago. I felt it was the right fit at this point of time where I’m at right now this particular year.’’
- Mitchell Robinson is moving on to his sixth agent as he enters his third year in the league, according to Berman. Robinson is leaving Klutch Sports to sign with the Wasserman Group.