Before Friday night’s contest against Cleveland, Frank Ntilikina had been available to play in the previous two games but had yet to actually get into a game. He was on the floor Friday night with the rest of the team, warming up with a brace protecting his right knee after a sprain that had sidelined him for more than a month.
"He’s getting there," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. "When you go through those things, it takes some time. But he’s moving well in practice."
Although Ntilikina has been available, it’s hard to see him pushing his way into the lineup right now.
He began the season getting just garbage time until a 4-for-4 three-point shooting effort in the third game of the season.
But one game later, he was injured and sidelined, with Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley taking over as the tandem getting the minutes at point guard.
While Ntilikina has the ability to guard multiple positions, the presence of Austin Rivers and Alec Burks also has limited his opportunities.
Ntilikina will be a free agent at season’s end but has been made available in trades previously. The trade deadline is March 25, and his limited opportunities in New York might be coming to an end.
Mitchell Robinson has gone through six agents representing him in his brief NBA career, and Nerlens Noel joined him in making a change this season. Noel dropped Rich Paul and Klutch Sports and signed earlier this month with Chris Gaston of Family First Sports.
Noel can be a free agent at season’s end.
"I’m not really worried about that," he said. "I already picked my agent about a couple of weeks ago. I wrapped that. That’s a thing of the past. I’ve been focused on being a New York Knick, playing basketball at the highest level possible and being focused."