From Marc Berman:
On Dec. 21, the Knicks will face the deadline to give Ntilikina a rookie-contract extension and there’s no evidence they will do so.
Expected to be a restricted free agent in 2021, Ntilikina stands a chance of being dealt at the trade deadline in March.
Regarding his contract, Ntilikina said, “The business part is going to take care of itself. I’m here to get better every day, to get this team better.’’
Knicks president Leon Rose is his former agent, but Ntilikina dumped Rose for French rep Bouna Ndiaye. Rose, who took over on March 1, missed out on seeing whether Ntilikina would continue to rise.
“It was really disappointing,’’ Ntilikina said of the season’s abrupt finish. “The end of last season really motivated me a lot. I saw improvements. When you work really hard every day just to improve, it’s really motivating when you see those improvements, when you feel that on the court. It just gave me so much energy for the future.”
Now the 6-foot-5 Ntilikina faces a hodgepodge battle for the starting point-guard job. Elfrid Payton was re-signed, Austin Rivers was brought in and Dennis Smith Jr. still is here.
Most likely, because of his defensive gifts, defensive-minded coach Tom Thibodeau will find a niche for Ntilikina off the bench, perhaps off the ball.
“It’s part of the game,’’ Ntilikina said of the playing-time battle. “We have a lot of guards on this team, a lot of competitors, which is going to bring the best out of the team. We’re going to compete hard for minutes and the coach is going to decide what he wants to do. We have trust in him. He knows what he’s doing. He knows his job. So he’s going to put the best players together on the court.’’
There were rumors on social media this summer about Ntilikina being traded after he had taken his Knicks bio off his accounts.
“I heard about it. It’s been a while — a really long time,’’ Ntilikina said. “I don’t know. I’m here. I’m happy to be a Knick. I’m working every day to represent this team the best I can. And I’m really happy to be here.”
Berman really creates a false dilemma here with his “The Knicks have until December 21 to sign Ntilikina to an extension.” I mean, come on, even the most supportive fans of Frank don’t think that the Knicks are going to sign him to an extension. That’s basically just trolling.
Still, it was an otherwise interesting article about Frank.
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