New York Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina has been a huge disappointment since being drafted as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In his first two years in the NBA, Ntilikina is only averaging 5.9 points and 3.1 assists on 35.4 percent shooting from the field, and 30.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Ntilikina’s future with the Knicks suddenly became uncertain when they acquired Dennis Smith Jr. in the Kristaps Porzingis deal before the February NBA trade deadline.
To make things more complicated, Marc Berman of the New York Post revealed that the Knicks are planning to shut down Frank Ntilikina for the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season after re-aggravating his groin injury. Ntilikina is under contract with the Knicks until the 2021-22 NBA season, but Berman revealed that New York could explore trading the 21-year-old French point guard during the 2019 NBA Draft.
“Although a stout defender, Ntilikina has struggled on the offensive end for two seasons. He came back to training camp bigger and stronger, but at 6-6, he still didn’t show the shooting knack or creativity to be a point guard. He ranked last in the NBA in effective field goal percentage that counts 3-point shots. Hence the Knicks, according to a source, will explore their options on Draft Night in June, especially after they obtained point guard Dennis Smith Jr. in the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster trade two months ago.”
More to come from practice, but here's a quick story on how Frank Ntilikina is done for the season with a groin injury, Knicks announce https://t.co/u13gtlHnGb— Barbara Barker (@meanbarb) March 29, 2019
It will definitely not be a surprise if the Knicks decide to part ways with Frank Ntilikina in the 2019 NBA offseason. Two years ago, the Knicks viewed Ntilikina as their point guard of the future, but lots of things have changed since then. After six consecutive seasons of missing the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Knicks will finally have the opportunity to build a title-contending team next summer.
Frank Ntilikina may have failed to live up to expectations from a No. 8 overall pick, but the Knicks could still use him as a trade chip in a potential blockbuster deal. Before the February NBA trade deadline, the Knicks were rumored to be interested in acquiring Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Knicks are expected to resume their trade negotiation with the Pelicans if they land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Aside from targeting big names via trade, the Knicks also have the salary cap space to offer two max contracts in the summer of 2019. The 2019 NBA free agency will be loaded with several NBA superstars, including Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. Successfully acquiring their top trade and free agency targets could turn the Knicks into a legitimate title contender in the 2019-20 NBA season.