The Knicks plan to pick up the fourth-year options — worth $6.3 million — on point guards Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., according to sources.
The option on Kevin Knox will also be announced later Tuesday. The Post reported over the weekend the Knicks would make their decision on Ntilikina before the season opener to eliminate any distractions. With the deadline for a decision on Oct. 31, that seemed to signal their decision was leaning toward the positive.
Ntilikina had a solid World Cup performance for France’s bronze-medal winning team this summer and his defense in the Knicks’ three preseason games was stellar. He still struggled with his outside shot. The 6-5 Ntilikina, Smith and Elfrid Payton are battling for the starting point-guard job.
Smith had a brutal preseason, going 3-of-17 but he is the key piece to the Kristaps Porzingis trade, so there wasn’t a doubt he would have his option picked up. Ntilikina’s situation was more dicey since he’s a Phil Jackson draft pick and has been subpar. Smith was taken by the Mavericks one pick after the Knicks selected Ntilikina at No. 8 in the 2017 draft.
Ntilikina can still be traded just as easily even if he is no longer an expiring-contract pickup.