The market for Ntilikina might be soft enough for the Knicks to match a modest offer. The Post reported Wednesday they haven’t ruled out bringing Ntilikina back if they lose Reggie Bullock. “New York is a special city for me,” Ntilikina told L’Equipe. But don’t be surprised if Popovich’s Spurs take a run at the Frenchman, especially if he stars for “Les Bleus” in Tokyo. The Spurs legend has always been complimentary of Ntilikina.
If the Knicks lose Bullock, they’d be more likely to attempt to match a modest offer to guard Frank Ntilikina, a restricted free agent. According to a league source, the Knicks haven’t ruled out bringing back their 2017 lottery pick selected by Phil Jackson, even if Thibodeau barely played him last season.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has expressed confidence in Ntilikina in public and, per SNY's Ian Begley, Thibodeau has in the past said privately that he believes Ntilikina has the potential to develop into a player who can help the Knicks in the future.
Ntilikina and Smith both are in the final years of their rookie contracts and haven’t lit the league on fire yet. They have vastly different styles. Ntilikina is a playmaker and defender, while Smith is a scorer and penetrator. Smith has even changed his jersey number to No. 4 — which he wore at North Carolina State. “We’re three days in, so I’m getting to know both guys,’’ Thibodeau said after the third day of voluntary group practices that is part of the NBA’s in-market OTAs for the “Delete 8.’’
“I like what they’ve done so far. They got to continue to work. There’s often times ups and downs for young players. There’s a learning curve they have to go through. Some experiences will be better than others. “They both have had some good moments in the league. You want to build a consistency. And how do you get there? You have to do it through your work. You have to learn from the experiences. And you have to be disciplined. And so, hopefully we can get there this is a very important offseason for both players.”
September 17, 2021 | 2:04 pm EDT Update
Mark Medina: I asked Clippers owner Steve Ballmer for his outlook on team winning an NBA title before leaving Staples Center in 2024: “I want to win a championship. I think we’ll be able to compete for a championship.”
Caleb Martin is going from a standard NBA contract with the Charlotte Hornets to a two-way deal with the Miami Heat, but he doesn’t view it as a demotion. Martin, who turns 26 on Sept. 28, sees it as an opportunity to “show everybody that I belong” after he was waived by the Hornets in August.
“The culture and the reputation were the big things that caught my eye,” Martin said to the Miami Herald of what intrigued him about the Heat. “Obviously, the coaching staff and just everybody that’s involved over here. One of the things they said was they’re big on development. They’re going to work with me and do the best they can to make me the best player I can be. They think this is a great spot for me in terms of my playing style and I agree with that.”