After struggling earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina started to see himself receiving less playing time, making some people believe that Coach David Fizdale has already given up on the former No. 8 overall pick. Ntilikina failed to make a huge improvement in his game, and this season, he is only averaging 5.9 points and 2.7 assists on 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 25.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
After being out of the Knicks’ rotation, rumors and speculations are circulating that Frank Ntilikina’s days in New York are already numbered. Mike Vorkunov of the Athletic revealed that several NBA teams have already called the Knicks to inquire about Ntilikina’s availability on the trade market. One of the teams who expressed a strong interest in acquiring Ntilikina is the Orlando Magic.
Since the 2018 NBA offseason, the Magic have been active on the trade market, eyeing to boost their backcourt. Frank Ntilikina may still have lots to improve on his overall game, but he will undeniably be a great addition to the Magic’s young core that features young center Mo Bamba, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. To acquire Ntilikina, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report suggested that the Magic could engage in a three-team blockbuster deal with the Knicks and the Houston Rockets.
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) December 5, 2018
In the proposed trade deal, the Magic will receive Frank Ntilikina, Brandon Knight, and 2021 second-round pick, the Knicks get Jarell Martin and Terrence Ross, and the Rockets will acquire Courtney Lee and Khem Birch. The suggested trade works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. The deal will not only be beneficial for the Magic but also for the Knicks and the Rockets.
“The Knicks are selling low on Ntilikina relative to his draft position. They’ll have to live with it. They haven’t given him the opportunity to improve his stock. Using him to wash off the final year of Lee’s deal is good value. New York sheds $17.6 million in salary heading into free agency, and having Ross’ Bird rights could prove useful depending on how the offseason shakes out. Also: Jarell Martin played well during his time in Memphis, some of which was spent under Fizdale. His arrival could mean nothing, or perhaps turn into a little cool something.”
The Knicks and the Magic won’t have a hard time convincing the Rockets to help them facilitate the trade since they are currently looking for a defensive-minded player who can fill the hole in their wing. Courtney Lee may not be able to replicate Trevor Ariza’s performance, but he could still boost the Rockets’ defense and floor spacing.