It’s been well over a month since Frank Ntilikina suited up for a New York Knicks game, as the second-year point guard continues to recover from a sore groin that sidelined him in late January. Even with recent acquisition and current starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr. reportedly pushing for the Knicks to reactivate Ntilikina, it appears that the team has no immediate plans to reactivate the young Frenchman. And if a new report is to be believed, Ntilikina’s time in New York could soon be coming to an end, as the Knicks might consider trading him during the offseason, specifically on the night of the 2019 NBA Draft in June.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, there have been a number of signs that the Knicks could move on from Ntilikina in the near future, including how he was recently treated as an “afterthought” while Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd had a “20-minute summit” with Smith and his erstwhile top backup, Emmanuel Mudiay. Berman also noted that Knicks head coach David Fizdale apparently sees Ntilikina as more of an “off-the-ball wing player” than a traditional point guard.
With Frank Ntilikina seemingly looking like the odd man out at point guard, Berman cited a source who told him that Knicks officials are planning to keep their options open during this year’s draft when it comes to the 20-year-old former lottery pick. While Ntilikina will “obviously” be available if the Knicks try to trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, Berman added that the team would consider any trade offer involving the youthful point guard if they could get an extra first-round pick out of the deal.
“The Knicks will be active on draft night,” said one of Berman’s sources, as quoted by the New York Post.
As observed by Bleacher Report, Ntilikina’s transition from the European leagues to the NBA has not been a smooth one since he was selected by the Knicks at No. 8 in the 2017 NBA Draft. In his sophomore pro season, Ntilikina is averaging 5.9 points — exactly identical to his rookie average — while shooting only 34.2 percent from the field. Per Basketball-Reference, he is also averaging 2.8 assists and two rebounds per game as of this writing.
While the New York Post noted that Ntilikina was originally expected to be out for just one to two weeks due to his groin injury, he has missed a total of six weeks since January 27 and has played in just 41 games this season.
Given Frank Ntilikina’s recent injury history and lack of production and the fact that the Knicks have the NBA’s worst record at 13-52, Bleacher Report opined that the team could be in a bit of a quandary if they are indeed planning to trade their onetime point guard of the future. While playing Ntilikina more could help improve his trade value, the outlet cautioned that forcing him back into action could do the opposite and put him at risk of additional injuries.