Report: Frank Ntilikina Not Given $7M Knicks Qualifying Offer, Will Become UFA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- OCTOBER 19:  Frank Ntilikina #11 of the New York Knicks handles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 19, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Sr./NBAE via Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks declined to make guard Frank Ntilikina a $7 million qualifying offer Sunday, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, meaning he is now an unrestricted free agent.

Ntilikina, 23, has fallen well short of expectations since the Knicks selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

The Belgium native struggled to establish himself as a key player for the Knicks in any of his first three seasons, averaging 6.0 points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game.

Once head coach Tom Thibodeau arrived last season, Ntilikina essentially fell out of the rotation completely, as Thibodeau favored the likes of Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and Elfrid Payton at point guard.

Ntilikina appeared in just 33 games last season, averaging a career-low 2.7 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 9.8 minutes per contest.

He also shot just 36.7 percent from the field, which was in line with his career number of 36.6 percent shooting.

With the Knicks making the improvement of their backcourt a clear priority this offseason after surprisingly reaching the playoffs last season, Ntilikina was very much in danger of not receiving a qualifying offer.

The one thing working in his favor was the fact that both Rose and Payton were set to hit unrestricted free agency, making point guard depth a potential issue.

Even so, Ntilikina did not perform anywhere close to the level of a $7 million player in his first four NBA seasons, making a qualifying offer at that level a tough sell for the Knicks.

As such, the Knicks decided to move on from a player who has been among the biggest first-round busts in franchise history thus far.

Ntilikina is still young and has a chance to salvage his NBA career, but it appears as though it won't be happening in New York.