Report: Knicks not actively shopping Ntilikina, but off-record executives believe he will be traded

The Frank Ntilikina rumors continue to swirl, as we have detailed here.

Several media outlets have reported that interest exists from a variety of teams for the former lottery pick. There has been no credible report to suggest the Knicks are looking to trade him, and there remains no report of them seeking a trade.

However, Chris Sheridan of Get More Sports reports that teams around the league believe Ntilikina will be wearing a different uniform by this year’s trade deadline.

New York is not actively shopping the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 draft, but there is a clear sense among other teams that Phil Jackson’s other first-round draft choice — the one not named Kristaps Porzingis — will be wearing a different uniform by the time the Feb. 7 trade deadline passes.

Sheridan notes that New York is not “actively shopping” the French guard and adds that none of the executives sourcing the information would speak on the record.

The report indicates that while Phoenix and Orlando, two teams tied to Frank in recent rumors, are looking for a starting point guard, neither is currently involved in any discussions, according to well-informed sources.

Ntilikina has been a model citizen as he deals with these rumors and consecutive DNP-CDs. However, he did get a bit short, for Frank, in a media session in Boston following an extra round of shooting.

I would not pay this Sheridan report too much attention, considering it is based on executives speaking off the record and we still do not have any credible report suggesting the Knicks are looking to actually trade Frank. There is a lot of “interest” from teams around the league, which is a testament to the potential people see in the defensive-minded guard. Let’s hope the Knicks realize that, too, and get him back on the floor soon enough.

Everything we know about Frank Ntilikina trade rumors

As Knicks fans debate whether Frank Ntilikina is the next great Knick or complete bust1, rumors are starting to swirl about the former lottery pick’s future.

Let’s sort out what we know so far…

Almost all of the reporters on the Knicks beat have reported that other teams are interested in Ntilikina. No credible source has reported that the Knicks are looking to trade the young guard.

However, there does appear to be something going on in relation to how the organization views the French guard’s long-term future in New York.

We heard Chris Vernon, who has ties to Fizdale from his days in Memphis, report that the Knicks are not very high on Frank right now.  “Everybody I talked to was out on him … It’s like ‘he’s not a PG’ … the kid can’t shoot … it was not a good report … I’m telling you this is from people with the team every damn day.”

We also have the evidence of his recent benching, and hints from David Fizdale that the rotation (which currently doesn’t include Frank) is stabilizing after early season tweaking, which at least suggests the team is less than sure about his role right now.

Speaking to reporters on December 5, Fizdale was asked about Ntilikina’s two straight DNPs, in which he responded:


Let’s now review what has been reported in terms of trade interest in Ntilikina, organized from the most credible to least credible sources.

Ian Begley reports that Phoenix reached out to the Knicks earlier this year about Frank.

This is not the first time Phoenix has kicked the tires on Ntilikina. Back when they were looking to deal Eric Bledsoe, Frank’s name came up. As Ian Begley reported last October:

The Phoenix Suns’ focus in talks with the Knicks recently has been on Frank Ntilikina – not Willy Hernangomez — league sources told ESPN, but the Knicks remain uninterested in dealing their rookie point guard.

Of course, Bledsoe ended up in Milwaukee and Willy Hernangomez would eventually be traded by the Knicks.

The Suns even tried to get their hands on Ntilikina during talks about a possible Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving trade in July 2017.

Ian Begley also reports that Brooklyn has interest in Ntilikina. However, both Nets Daily and Brian Lewis of the New York Post are reporting the Nets do NOT have interest.

Besides Phoenix and Brooklyn, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports that Orlando and Minnesota have interest in Frankie Smokes.

Stefan Bondy adds Memphis to the list of interested teams.

Marc Berman of the New York Post also notes that other teams have interest in Ntilikina, but has not listed the explicit teams.


Now we get into what I will classify more as “chatter.”

Chris Sheridan of Get More Sports reports that teams around the league believe Ntilikina will be wearing a different uniform by this year’s trade deadline:

New York is not actively shopping the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 draft, but there is a clear sense among other teams that Phil Jackson’s other first-round draft choice — the one not named Kristaps Porzingis — will be wearing a different uniform by the time the Feb. 7 trade deadline passes.

Sheridan notes that New York is not “actively shopping” the French guard and adds that none of the executives sourcing the information would speak on the record.

The report indicates that while Phoenix and Orlando, two teams tied to Frank in recent rumors, are looking for a starting point guard, neither is currently involved in any discussions, according to well-informed sources.

John Gambadoro of Arizonasports.com speculates that the Knicks are looking for draft picks to package for a star player in any deal that involves Ntilikina, and believes the Milwaukee pick owed to Phoenix could get a deal done.

By far the least credible report, if it can be counted as a report at all, comes from Legion Hoops:

So there you have it, from most credible to least credible, everything we know right now.

Other teams are interested in Frank, his role in the rotation is a bit precarious right now, but there is no indication (yet) that the Knicks are looking to trade the young guard.

Report: Suns, Wolves, Nets(?) interested in Ntilikina

As Knicks fans debate whether Frank Ntilikina is the next great Knick or complete bust2, reports have surfaced that several teams are interested in the young point guard.

The Phoenix Suns seem to have the strongest interest.

Ian Begley reports that Phoenix reached out to the Knicks earlier this year about Frank.

This is not the first time Phoenix has kicked the tires on Ntilikina. Back when they were looking to deal Eric Bledsoe, Frank’s name came up. As Ian Begley reported last October:

The Phoenix Suns’ focus in talks with the Knicks recently has been on Frank Ntilikina – not Willy Hernangomez — league sources told ESPN, but the Knicks remain uninterested in dealing their rookie point guard.

Of course, Bledsoe ended up in Milwaukee and Willy Hernangomez would eventually be traded by the Knicks.

The Suns even tried to get their hands on Ntilikina during talks about a possible Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving trade in July 2017.

Besides Phoenix, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports that Orlando and an unnamed team have interest in Frankie Smokes.

The Magic have shown interest in the 20-year-old, according to a league source, with a scout in Philadelphia last night watching him.

“He’s intriguing,” a different scout said.

In addition to Phoenix and Minnesota, Ian Begley, who is as reliable as any reporter on the beat, reports that Brooklyn has interest in Ntilikina. However, both Nets Daily and Brian Lewis of the New York Post are reporting the Nets do NOT have interest.

What this all means: Plenty of teams see the upside in a young guard who can defend all positions on the floor, and if given the opportunity, could perhaps be a lead guard in an offense where he doesn’t need to be the focal point to make a contribution.

Phoenix is clearly interested in pairing Ntilikina with Devin Booker as a perfect combination of offensive firepower and defensive acumen. We will see if the Knicks continue to be patient with their former lottery pick who has struggled to start this season. The front office held strong last October, making it known that they would not include Ntilikina in a blockbuster trade. We will find out if anything has changed since then, after another full season of evaluation.