GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Two days after issuing a press release indicating they had officially acquired Emmanuel Mudiay in a three-team trade, the Knicks on Saturday said the trade was being held up by Devin Harris' physical in Denver.
If Mudiay is eligible to play Sunday in Indiana, he will, coach Jeff Hornacek said. Hornacek added that he expects a healthy competition at the point guard spot going forward between Mudiay, rookie Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke, while Jarrett Jack's minutes are expected to be affected.
"It's something to do with Devin Harris getting his physical in Denver," Hornacek said of the holdup on the 21-year-old Mudiay, who was at the Knicks facility Saturday but did not practice or address the media.
Mudiay, Ntilikina and Burke were all lottery picks and are all 25-years-old or younger. Hornacek said he met with Ntilikina Saturday morning to explain that the two guards could play together.
"I showed him some things on the film and just kind of assured him that those two can play together but again it's always a competition," Hornacek said. "You go home for the summer, that's what you work all summer for. Just seeing it in the past here when guys come back from the summer and that's when you earn your minutes in the beginning of the year. And you're going OK, somebody's gotta really beat me out.
"That healthy competition where you play together as a team but also are kind of competing as to show how good players they are will make them both get better."
Hornacek said he's not worried that the Mudiay trade will have an adverse effect on Ntilikina's psyche.
"No, I think you get a good feel for guy's mentally," he said. "To me, mentally weak guys think that. Mentally strong guys don't think that. They think OK, bring on whoever. I can see that in Frank that he has that mentality."
Both Mudiay and Ntilikina are listed at 6-foot-5, and Hornacek likes the idea of having bigger guards.
"I think that's where the opportunities of them playing together are going to come," he said. "They both have good size, they're both 6-4, 6-5 so you can mix the matchups and most two guards aren't in this league aren't 6-7 anymore. Those are four men now. A lot of teams play with smaller guards so that can help us. With us trying to move the ball side-to-side, now we have two ball handlers that are used to pick-and-rolls. When we do swing it side-to-side, we should be able to get some good action."
Jack, 34, is averaging 26.4 minutes per game while averaging 7.7 points and 6.1 assists. His playing time will likely be impacted by Mudiay's arrival and the move to play the younger guys more.
"Yeah, we're going to have to talk and I think he understands what his role on this team was from day one, in terms of being that veteran guy that helps our younger players," Hornacek said. "And now it's just another guy he has to help out. And Jarrett is very good in that role. He tries to explain little nuances of playing the point guard position to these guys.
"So Jarrett's like another coach out there on the court."
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