Stein notes that Dallas had been eyeing Ntilikina even in the 2017 NBA draft lottery, but after the Knicks selected him with the eighth pick, the Mavericks pivoted to Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 9 selection. Smith, who himself was eventually sent to the Knicks in 2019, recently signed a training camp deal with the Trail Blazers.
During the 2020/21 season, Ntilikina earned $6.2MM in the fourth year of his rookie deal. This year, his deal will most likely be either a non-guaranteed deal or a veteran’s minimum. The Mavericks currently have 14 players on guaranteed deals, with one player – Moses Brown – signed to a non-guaranteed contract and both of their two-way contract spots occupied.
The 6’4″ reserve guard, still just 23, suited up for 33 games with the Knicks last year under head coach Tom Thibodeau. He averaged just 2.7 PPG and 0.9 RPG across 9.8 MPG. A talented defensive player, Ntilikina has yet to develop on the other end of the hardwood. He holds career averages of 5.5 PPG, 2.7 APG and 2.0 RPG.