Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
LAS VEGAS -- Frank Ntilikina was visiting with the Knicks' Summer League team on Sunday night, unfazed by his involvement in recent trade rumors.
"I'm happy to be a Knick," Ntilikina told reporters at the Thomas and Mack Center before New York's overtime loss to Phoenix. "I still take as much as I can get from every situation that I can. I'm in their jersey. I'm happy to be a Knick. I'm happy to be here. I'll work very hard to make this situation successful."
The Knicks talked to at least one team about a trade involving Ntilikina and the return of an early second-round pick prior to the NBA Draft. They also discussed deals around the return of a late first-round pick.
Some teams considering Ntilikina were wary of making the trade before the draft because his $5 million salary would impact their cap space in free agency and they couldn't be sure of what they were getting in Ntilikina.
Ntilikina has spent part of his offseason working out in Dallas with teammate Kadeem Allen. The Knicks sent soon-to-be assistant coach Mike Miller to the workouts.
"[The workouts] have been going great. I've been there working out, focusing on getting back healthy and improving. It's been going well so I'm happy about it," Ntilikina said Sunday. "I'm trying to get into a good rhythm. I'm healthy. The summer is going -- I'm working a lot. I'm happy with where I am right now. So I have to keep on working my best to improve to be the best player I can be at the end of the summer."
Ntilikina may play with the French national team later in the summer. He'll then head to training camp with the Knicks, where he'll face heavy competition for minutes in the backcourt. New York signed free agent guard Elrid Payton - who will be given every opportunity to win the starting job -- and is returning Allen and Dennis Smith Jr.
"It's going to be competitive. That's what we want at the end of the day," Ntilikina said. "We're going to learn from each other and of course compete with each other. It's not going to be easy for everyone."
Ntilikina, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, averaged 5.7 points and 2.7 assists in 21 minutes per game last season. He played in 43 games, limited by various injuries over the course of the year.