With the 2021 NBA Draft wrapped up, the offseason is officially underway for the New York Knicks, fresh off of their first playoff berth since 2012-2013.
And they’ve already made several moves to kick things off.
It started with the NBA Draft on Thursday night when they made a number of separate transactions, parting ways with their first-round picks in lieu of future assets.
New York is as serious about their future outlook as they are about winning now, which fed into their next line of decision-making regarding youngsters Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson.
Both once thought of as key members of the Knicks rebuild, have reached the end of their rookie deals.
And for Ntilikina, this juncture represents the likely end to his tenure in New York.
Knicks, Ntilikina Parting Ways
Sunday’s 5 PM deadline came and went without the New York Knick extending Frank Ntilikina a qualifying offer, meaning he’s now an unrestricted free agent.
And more importantly, it means his time with the team has likely come to an end.
Marc Berman of the New York Post was first with reports.
Ntilikina was the longest-tenured Knicks player walking into this offseason, after being drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
A prominent force on the defensive end, he just never found a groove on offense, despite showing flashes at times throughout his rocky, roller-coaster tenure.
Ntilikina will finish his New York career with averages of 5.5 points, 2.7 assists, and two rebounds per game.
Charlie Ward Curse will Have to Wait
Charlie Ward isn’t necessarily a household name among NBA fans, but for the New York Knicks and their following, he represents an ineptitude within the front office’s scouting department that goes back years.
Since he left the team via trade in 2004, no rookie has signed a second contract to return to the team.
With Frank Ntilikina on his way out, the “Charlie Ward Curse” continues on.
Big man Mitchell Robinson, who the New York Knicks also made a key decision on this week.
New York Exercises Robinson’s Team Option
The New York Knicks elected to exercise Mitchell Robinson’s team option for 2021-2022 on Saturday morning.
This will make him extension eligible this offseason, and furthermore, an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Robinson is coming off of a year where he played just 31 games but showed significant improvements.
He averaged 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game.
What’s to expect of Robinson’s future with New York, now that he can hit free agency after this season?
The Knicks can always approach him about an extension now, in hopes of locking him into a deal beforehand.
But coming off of a season where he missed 41 games, it’s unlikely he’ll like the figure they offer him.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the current framework of an extension would be for four years and $51 million.
Instead, expect Robinson to pursue a bigger payday a year from now, playing out the last year of his contract.