The Dallas Mavericks on Thursday made official their signing of free-agent guard Frank Ntilikina.
Ntilikina, the No. 8 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, could not solidify himself as the long-term point guard answer during his four-year tenure with the New York Knicks.
The Mavericks made a point guard selection of their own during that draft. With Ntilikina off the board by the pick prior, Dallas selected Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 9 overall selection.
Neither Ntilikina nor Smith Jr. had successful tenures with their original NBA team. They are each looking to put together a strong training camp performance to earn a contract for the 2021-22 season.
There was speculation that Smith Jr. could receive a camp invite from the Mavericks, but instead, he received and accepted one from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Both Smith Jr. and Ntilikina were briefly teammates after the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Mavericks. Neither managed to solidify themselves as an answer at point guard.
Last season, Ntilikina appeared in just 33 games and averaged a career-low 9.8 minutes per game.With Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, and Elfrid Payton shouldering the majority of the guard rotation, there wasn’t much room for Ntilikina.
Ntilikina is known for his on-ball defensive impact and has showcased some serious results at times. Standing at 6-foot-4 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, he has the length to disrupt most guards. But the bottom line: The Mavs have known him for a long time, given this organization’s international ties. And this move represents a reclamation project for a player who hasn’t lived up to his billing – yet.