Frank Ntilikina would also like to know if he’ll play in Wednesday’s season opener in Indiana.
Ntilikina, the Knicks’ 2017 lottery pick, missed the final two preseason games with Achilles soreness.
He’s in a dogfight for rotational minutes with the Knicks’ backcourt depth and coach Tom Thibodeau announcing he will have a 10-man rotation.
“It’s going to be coach’s decision,” Ntilikina said after Wednesday’s morning shootaround in Indiana. “As players we just have to be ready to jump on the court when they call us. The options we have, we have a lot of talented guards. That means a lot of options for coach.
“We’re going to be a talented team. Right now that question is more for coach to figure out what he’s going to do. My job is to be ready for each and every game.”
Monday’s deadline passed without Ntilikina, 22, getting a rookie contract extension – which was expected. Ntilikina said he never had discussions about it and he will, as previously reported, become a restricted free agent in 2021.
Hence, his future remains murky and a trade-deadline deal has to be a consideration for the Knicks if he’s not squarely in the rotation. Of course, the Knicks could add the Frenchman to a package for a star as well.
Phil Jackson and Steve Mills, who drafted Ntilikina at No. 8, are gone. In addition, Ntilikina fired his CAA agent, Leon Rose, after his rookie year. Rose is now the Knicks president.
“It is what it is,” Ntilikina said of the lack of a contract extension. “I’m more focused on the game and season. That’s what the main focus is – on and getting better every day and try to make our goals successful.”
After the second preseason game in Detroit, Ntilikina started to feel Achilles discomfort.
“Something happened during the game but the pain happened after the game,” Ntilikina said. “I’m feeling really good. We worked with the training staff and coaches to get me feeling better.”
Thibodeau has looked at Ntilikina as an off-the-ball guard in training camp – not at the point. Alec Burks and Reggie Bullock could wind up ahead of Ntilikina on the depth chart. Ntilikina averaged 15 minutes in his two preseason games and shot 37.5 percent.
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