Knicks Trade Rumors: Frank Ntilikina Expected to Be Shopped in Offseason

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina during a pause in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Friday, March 22, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are expected to explore the trade market for guard Frank Ntilikina this summer.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported the team is prepared to move on from its 2017 first-round pick, who was the last major move from Phil Jackson's tenure as team president.

Ntilikina has struggled mightily to make an impact in his first two NBA seasons. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 assists per game on 33.7 percent shooting before being shut down for the remainder of the year due to a groin injury.

"I got to stay positive to what is happening," Ntilikina told reporters on Friday. "It's frustrating but it's for my health. I know it's the right decision to make right now. I still grew a lot as a player and a person. Of course it's frustrating to not have played as many games as I wanted to. But I still got better."

That the Knicks would consider trading Ntilikina is of little surprise. He's a solid young defender but has been next-to-impossible to play on the offensive end.

The question is whether the Knicks can get anything substantive in return to make a trade worth it. It seems unlikely that any team would trade much more than a (very) late first-round pick for him—and even that might be a stretch. Given the Knicks' investment and the potential Ntilikina has shown on the defensive end, moving him for a second-round pick wouldn't be a prudent move.

If the team manages to sign two max-level players and needs to free up a little room for a low-cost veteran, then it might make sense to dump Ntilikina. But if not, Ntilikina might wind up back on the Knicks roster in 2019-20.