NBA Rumors: Knicks Could Trade Frank Ntilikina & 2020 1st-Round Pick For DeMar DeRozan, Per ‘Bleacher Report’

Demar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs brings the ball down the court against the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter during game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 16, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.
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Rumors have been continuously swirling around All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and his future with the San Antonio Spurs. Whether he opts into the final year of his contract or not, multiple signs are pointing to DeRozan and the Spurs parting ways in the 2020 offseason. If he declines his player option for next season, DeRozan would be given the opportunity to choose his destination as an unrestricted free agent.

However, money-wise, DeRozan is better off opting in and letting the Knicks decide where he would play next season. According to Preston Ellis of Bleacher Report, one of the potential landing spots for DeRozan this offseason is the New York Knicks. In the proposed trade deal involving the Knicks and the Spurs, DeRozan would be sent to New York in exchange for Frank Ntilikina and the Los Angeles Clippers’ 2020 first-round pick.

If the trade becomes a reality, Ellis believes that it would help both teams meet needs to improve their roster.

“If DeRozan opts in, the Knicks could still acquire him by offering Frank Ntilikina and the Clippers’ 2020 first-round pick to the Spurs. He would immediately become their go-to offensive option and help them improve their 27th-ranked offense while young players such as RJ Barrett, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson could slide into complementary roles. Ntilikina and a late first-round pick may not seem like much for a former All-Star such as DeRozan, but the Spurs are quickly speeding toward a rebuild. Flipping him for anything beats losing him for nothing in free agency or overpaying him.”

The successful acquisition of DeRozan from the Spurs would fulfill the Knicks’ dream of adding a legitimate NBA superstar to their roster. DeRozan may not be on the same level as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, and James Harden, but he still could help the Knicks become a more competitive team in the Eastern Conference. Though he’s not a floor-spacer, DeRozan remains a very reliable scoring option and a decent playmaker.

This season, the 30-year-old shooting guard is averaging 22.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting 52.6 percent from the field. The Knicks wouldn’t mind losing Ntilikina in the trade since they would still have Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton.

Meanwhile, Ntilikina may have been a huge disappointment since entering the league in 2017, but Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has a history of turning international players into legitimate stars. If Popovich manages to unlock his hidden potential, Ntilikina could become the next Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili in San Antonio.