The Knicks had “opportunities” to trade Frank Ntilikina earlier this season, but “some pushback” from members of New York’s organization resulted in a deal ultimately not getting done, SNY’s Ian Begley revealed on Wednesday’s episode of The Putback presented by 888sport.
“Just a quick note on Ntilikina’s future — I do know that there were opportunities earlier in the season to move him, but there were people in the organization opposed to making deals at that time,” Begley said.
“Now, obviously, he’s going to be a restricted free agent. Don’t know exactly what’s going to happen there, but there was some pushback against trade opportunities, different trade opportunities that came up with Ntilikina.”
Ntilikina, 22, is in the final season of a four-year rookie contract worth more than $18 million. The Knicks selected Ntilikina with the 2017 NBA Draft’s No. 8 overall pick.
Through 24 games (four starts) in 2020-21, the first with head coach Tom Thibodeau, Ntilikina is averaging 3.1 points on 36.9% shooting over 10.9 minutes. As Begley noted on an earlier episode of The Putback, though, Thibodeau sees potential in Ntilikina.
“I do know that Tom Thibodeau, throughout, has seen Ntilikina as a player,” Begley said. “Like, I think there’s something there. And so, Frank proved that in a few games when he came into the rotation. But more recently, he struggled with his shot. … If they don’t trade him, then you would think they’re committed to re-signing him this offseason when he is a free agent.”