Free agent guard Frank Ntilikina is receiving interest from Italian club Virtus Bologna as a potential replacement for Nico Mannion, according to BasketNews.com. Mannion will miss the beginning of the season as he recovers from an intestinal infection.
“We are looking on the market for an element to be included, a point guard who can also remain in the future,” head coach Sergio Scariolo said as part of a larger quote, according to EuroHoops. Because of that, we focus on young people who can give something important, rather than a veteran addition.”
Ntilikina fits the bill for what Virtus Bologna is looking for. The defensive-minded 23-year-old was drafted eighth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, spending the past four years with New York.
Across those four seasons with the Knicks, Ntilikina has averaged 5.5 points, two rebounds and 0.8 steals in 19.5 minutes per game. He’s struggled with his shooting at the NBA level, owning a 36.6% mark from the field and 32.8% mark from deep in his career.
Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype takes a look at the top prospects for the 2022 NBA draft, crafting an early aggregate mock draft for the event based on the rankings of various draft experts. Among the projected high-lottery picks is Duke freshman Paolo Banchero, whom Kalbrosky pegs as most likely to be drafted first overall.
- Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider link) examines the recent Nets–Pistons trade featuring veteran center DeAndre Jordan, grading both sides and giving his opinion on which team won the trade. Brooklyn, which received an A grade from Pelton, dealt Jordan, four second-round picks and $5.78MM in cash in exchange for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya. The Pistons, who got a C-plus, then reached a buyout agreement with Jordan, allowing him to sign with the Lakers.
- Spurs rookie Joshua Primo has signed a multi-year shoe and endorsement deal with Nike, according to Jeff Garcia of KENS 5. Primo, 18, was selected No. 12 overall in this year’s draft after spending one season at Alabama.