Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With the trade deadline a few weeks away, we've been asking teams about the trade value of some of the Knicks. Here's what three teams had to say about Marcus Morris. We also asked a few teams about Frank Ntilikina's value:
"They drafted him at eight (Ntilikina was the eighth overall pick in 2017) and they're obviously not going to get back a top-10 pick for him," one team said. "But he still has value. A lot of people value him around the league because he's still young (21) and he plays defense. His shot isn't there, but there's reason to think he can improve. Getting a second round pick for him, that's not even a question. I'm not sure about a first, maybe a late first. You can't rule it out. Crazier things have happened in this league."
The Knicks seemed committed to moving Ntilikina before the 2019 NBA Draft. But they couldn't find a deal that they liked. There's no indication at the moment that they're as eager to move him now as they were in June.
But you have to assume that no Knick -- outside of RJ Barrett -- is off-limits in trade talks. (Several teams -- including the Timberwolves -- have interest in fellow point guard Dennis Smith Jr.)
With Elfrid Payton out for much of the season due to a hamstring injury, Ntilikina has started and played consistent minutes for the first time in his career.
He's continued to defend well, but his offense hasn't been as consistent.
Entering Friday's game against Miami, he's averaging six points, three assists, 1.3 steals and two rebounds per game. He's shooting 38 percent overall and 34 percent from beyond the arc.
"I think teams definitely still value him. Maybe you can get a late first from someone for him because he's still young," one team said. "Maybe it's like a (Markelle) Fultz situation where it's best for both parties to move on. You know he can defend. You just don't know what he can be offensively. He's been so inconsistent there."
Another team isn't as high on Ntilikina: "I think they could get back another young player that's been struggling or a second-rounder. Definitely not a first."
A team we spoke with that didn't rule out the possibility of New York getting a late first for Ntilikina suggested a team may value the known quantity in Ntilikina over the unknown of a draft prospect.
"You know what you have (in Ntilikina). Is he better than a kid coming into the draft that you'd get at the end of the first round?"
Some teams may also value Ntilikina's off-court attributes: by all accounts, he's a hard worker who is well-liked by coaches and teammates. "That shouldn't be discounted," one team said.
"I don't know if you get a first for him, but he still has value in this league," a team said. "He's one of those players where you better make sure you know what you have before you make the trade, because there's a chance that he blossoms into a much better version of what we see now. And that would hurt (the Knicks)."