The Knicks introduced Elfrid Payton on Monday and brought Dennis Smith Jr. out to speak to the media, too, but Frank Ntilikina was out of sight, remaining the mystery he was during his first two seasons in the league.
Ntilikina will be in camp after failed efforts to move him over the summer, but what the future holds for the 2017 lottery pick remains a mystery. Asked about the rookie contract option that the team has yet to exercise, general manager Scott Perry hasn’t given any hints of a plan.
“We have until Oct. 31 to do that and we won’t discuss any contract things in detail,” Perry said. “So that’s all I’m going to tell you right now.”
Coach David Fizdale was more enthusiastic, noting of the three point guards, “I think it’s going to be great competition. I think we’ll have between [Payton], Dennis and Frank, those guys will be fighting each other every single day for those minutes. Really at that position, I’m looking at, are they defending their position at a high level? Are they pushing our pace? Are they organizing us while staying aggressive and really being the floor general for our team?”
No return to Melo
Carmelo Anthony worked out briefly with some of the Knicks players during the summer, but it sounds as if New York is not an option for the free agent. “Yes, we followed what’s going on with Carmelo,” Knicks president Steve Mills said. “They called, he and Lance Thomas asked if they could come work out with our team one day, which we always have our former Knicks come. Amar’e [Stoudemire] came last year. So I wish Carmelo the best.”
Payton was asked if he knows Mitchell Robinson, who, like him, hails from Louisiana.
“I actually tried to get Mitchell to play for my AAU team,” he said. “I’ve known him. But this is my first time, last year actually seeing him play. I was gone a lot, obviously playing, but I would hear a lot about this guy Mitchell Robinson at home that really looks good, somebody that could play and had a chance to make it to the NBA. But last year was my first time consistently seeing him.”
So what happened with AAU?
“Let’s just say it didn’t work out.”