A number of NBA teams are reportedly showing interest in New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina, as the former eighth overall draft pick continues to deal with criticism regarding his perceived lack of development in his second season in the league.
As recapped by Bleacher Report, Ntilikina was first mentioned in the rumor mill this week when ESPN’s Ian Begley wrote on Friday that the Phoenix Suns were hoping to solve their point guard issues by trading for the 20-year-old Frenchman. This was followed up by a tweet from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, who said that the Memphis Grizzlies have also shown some interest. Later that day, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic provided another update on the situation, noting that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic likewise made inquiries about Ntilikina.
With the Knicks currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 7-16 win-loss record, Frank Ntilikina has continued to struggle on the offensive end as he shares minutes at point guard with Trey Burke and Emmanuel Mudiay. Per Basketball-Reference, his 2018-19 stats remain similar to the ones he posted in his rookie season, as he is scoring just 5.9 points per game on 33 percent field goal shooting while adding 1.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Despite how Ntilikina’s name has popped up repeatedly in trade rumors, New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale remains confident in the youngster, as he spoke to reporters on Friday to fire back at reports that took issue with the second-year point guard’s performance, as well as the “soft” play of 2018 first-round pick Kevin Knox.
“They’re both going up and down with confidence,” the New York Post quoted Fizdale as saying.
“But that’s to be expected with some of these guys. That’s how this league is. It doesn’t let you celebrate. Until you really develop a consistent game and understanding, you’re going to go through those struggles. That’s the stage they’re in right now. [They are] trying [to] develop who they are and at the same time they’re playing against top-notch players and having to deal with that as well.”
With Frank Ntilikina reportedly a top target for several NBA teams, Bleacher Report noted that it remains unclear whether the New York Knicks have plans to part ways with the former lottery pick. The publication opined that the Knicks’ youth and depth in the backcourt could put them in a “position of strength” when it comes to any possible trade negotiations, but added that Ntilikina’s uninspiring statistics might make it hard for the team to get good value in return for someone who was once picked in the top 10 of the NBA Draft.