Knicks Trade Rumors: Suns Target Frank Ntilikina to Pair with Devin Booker

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

New York Knicks' Frank Ntilikina, of Belgium, in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 117-91. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina.

According to ESPN's Ian Begley on Friday, the Suns are "intrigued" by the idea of pairing Ntilikina with shooting guard Devin Booker in their backcourt.

Bagley also noted that the Suns contacted the Knicks about Ntilikina earlier this year, but they weren't open to moving him at the time.

The 20-year-old Ntilikina is in the midst of his second NBA season after the Knicks selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

After primarily coming off the bench as a rookie, Ntilikina has started 14 of the 23 games he has appeared in this season.

The French guard is averaging 5.9 points, 2.7 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game while shooting just 33.3 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from three-point range.

Despite an uptick in playing time, Ntilikina's numbers have declined so far this season. He averaged 5.9 points, 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per contest in 2017-18, while his shooting percentages have declined from 36.4 percent overall and 31.8 percent from downtown.

The Knicks have a crowded backcourt, and Ntilikina has taken a backseat to the likes of Trey Burke, Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson and Emmanuel Mudiay at times.

While Ntilikina has yet to live up to his potential, Phoenix could be an ideal landing spot due to the team's need at point guard.

The Suns had been starting veteran Isaiah Canaan at point guard before waiving him Wednesday. Phoenix could start rookie second-round pick Elie Okobo, who is averaging 7.1 points and 2.4 assists per game this season.

The Suns have the worst record in the NBA at 4-17, but they boast a ton of young talent, including Rookie of the Year candidate Deandre Ayton, 20, and Booker, 22.

Booker has the makings of a perennial All-Star after averaging nearly 25 points per game last season, and it would take some pressure off his shoulders if the Suns could acquire a capable starter alongside him. That might not be Ntilikina yet, but Phoenix would be hoping to develop him into a difference-maker.