Begley reported that at least one team who has been in contact with the Knicks said they had asked for a second-round pick. Ntilikina was selected eighth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The athletic point guard with a seven-foot wingspan has been good defensively, but he’s had a difficult time as a Knick, averaging just 5.7 points per game for his career along with two rebounds and 2.8 assists.
New York, who own the third overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, have two max contract slots available. Kevin Durant’s injury, and Kyrie Irving’s links with the Brooklyn Nets, have put a dampener on their summer plans, however, and it remains to be seen what approach the Knicks go for this offseason.
Letting Ntilikina go for just a second-round pick, despite his difficult two seasons in the Big Apple, would be an error at this juncture. With a leap to contention improbable at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks should be giving Ntilikina plenty of minutes in 2019/20 – he has the potential to develop into a starting NBA point guard.
The Sixers, Thunder and Pistons are three teams that would leap at the chance to pick up Ntilikina for such a bargain price. That’s not to mention the point-guard-needy Phoenix Suns, who could well look to pair the long-armed Frenchman with Devin Booker in the backcourt.
There was optimism of a title contender being constructed in New York this summer. That is incredibly unlikely now, with Zion Williamson heading to New Orleans, Anthony Davis a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and Durant out for 2019/20.
The Knicks have intriguing young players, though, including Ntilikina, and should be looking to them once again next season, particularly if all they can get in return is a second round selection.