Rumors (or maybe just speculation) have come out that the New York Knicks and guard, Frank Ntilikina, are at a crossroads. Could the Dallas Mavericks still have interest in the youngster from France?
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Frank Nitlikina wants out of New York and has hired a new agent to help him find another team. For the Dallas Mavericks fans that are unfamiliar with Ntilikina, he was reportedly the guy the Mavs wanted with the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft when they got Dennis Smith Jr.
This report doesn’t come with a lot of surprise, honestly. The Knicks organization has been in shambles for years and many of the players on the team have been ready to leave or excited once they are gone. Despite being a big market team, New York has had trouble luring big name free agents for several years, but hope their luck changes this summer.
With the Knicks ready to take on pretty much anything other that doesn’t eat into their cap space, should the Mavs pursue the soon to be 21-year-old guard? The rumors surrounding Ntilikina to Dallas are mostly speculation at this point, but could that pairing work for both parties?
If the Mavs could acquire Ntilikina for just the 37th pick in the draft, my inclination would be to go for it. Ntilikina is still incredibly young and has a tremendous potential upside, which is why he was drafted 8th overall in 2017. He has not lived up to his early expectations, but he also hasn’t been in the best situation for a youngster looking for some growth and mentoring.
The Mavs may be a great place for Ntilikina to fix some of the issues in his game. He can work on his three-pointer as pretty much everyone on the team shoots threes (see Salah Mejri). He can also be a contributor on the court with his length and speed as a defensive specialist until that three-pointer comes along.
The biggest issue with bringing Ntilikina on is his contract. He is set to make just under $5 million this year which would eat into the cap space the Mavs have created in order to pursue big name free agents this summer. The only way this wouldn’t hurt Dallas is if they choose to pursue smaller name free agents this summer as opposed to one big name.
I am a fan of the idea of getting Frank Ntilikina because I do feel like he could do well in Dallas. His upside is out of this world and he could be a really important piece to a good team if he can develop. At the price of just an early second round pick, it seems like this would be an obvious choice. The contract is a big hiccup this year though.
The Dallas Mavericks are going to be exploring a number of options this summer and the availability of Ntilikina is likely something they will look into. If they do decide to go for him, it will likely be viewed as a solid move from the Mavs.