Knicks Trade Rumors: Magic Expressed Interest in Frank Ntilikina Before Deadline

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2019

New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina (11) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Orlando Magic acquired Markelle Fultz from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jonathon Simmons, an Oklahoma City Thunder first-round pick and a Cleveland Cavaliers second-round pick, per Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, but they reportedly had their eyes on another point guard before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline. 

According to Ian Begley ESPN, the Magic "expressed interest" in New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. However, the Knicks told them they did not plan to move the second-year playmaker.

The 10-43 Knicks are in full-on rebuilding mode. They waived Enes Kanter and waived Wesley Matthews at the deadline, and they already traded Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks.

The future could consist of Kevin Knox, what could be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft and potential upcoming free-agency additions such as Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving. New York clearly thinks Ntilikina could develop into an important contributor and was in no rush to move him even though he hasn't lived up to expectations.

New York selected him with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft, and he is averaging 5.9 points and 2.8 assists per game this season while shooting just 29.1 percent from deep.

Still, he is just 20 years old and has flashed potential. That apparently caught the eye of the Magic, who demonstrated a strategy of seeking out highly drafted young players who haven't panned out.

Fultz was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft and is just 20 years old, although shoulder issues and concerns about his shooting have drastically limited his impact.

Orlando is on the way to its seventh straight year with no playoff appearance if it doesn't make up the four games separating it from the eighth-seeded Miami Heat, and high-ceiling players who could thrive with a change of scenery such as Fultz may help it change course in the coming years.


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