On Sunday, New York Knicks rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina took in his first baseball game at Yankee Stadium, when the New York Yankees hosted the Boston Red Sox.
According to Howie Kussoy of the New York Post, the first-round pick revealed that he has recently been working out in New York with Carmelo Anthony, Lance Thomas and members of the Knicks’ summer league team in advance of training camp.
“We were just focusing on playing,” Ntilikina said Sunday. “Whatever will happen will happen. We’ll see. We’re [all] excited about getting back on the court together.” By the sounds of it, the rookie is not expecting Melo to get traded (at least before the season starts).
Anthony has been the subject of serious trade talks this summer, as the Knicks have seemed committed to moving him. The Houston Rockets emerged as a realistic candidate earlier this offseason, but the two sides could not come to an agreement.
The Rockets were reportedly looking for a third team to facilitate a deal, but couldn’t find one.
Melo holds a full no-trade clause, but it seems as though he’s finally ready to leave New York in the quest of winning his first NBA title.
“Well, for me it’s all about, at this point, just winning a championship. And having fun playing the game of basketball again. And finding that motivation and that passion, and keeping that motivation and that passion. And having fun and enjoying the game, because at the end of the day, when you’re not enjoying the game, everything else is just 10 times worse. I just want to get back to enjoying the game of basketball. I’ve never lost my passion for it, I’ve never lost my motivation for it. I’ve lost my joy for it a little bit due to everything that’s been surrounding me, but I’m starting to find my happiness right now, my joy for the game,” Anthony told ESPN's Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter.
However, at this point, it seems more realistic than not that he will start the season as a member of the Knicks. The young French point guard is therefore trying to establish an on-court chemistry with the 33-year-old veteran.
It also looks like Ntilikina has developed an appreciation for baseball. “I’ve watched a lot of baseball since I’m here,” Ntilikina said. “We don’t play that much baseball in France, but since I started watching, and I like it. I wanted to watch at least one game before the season started. I was really excited about watching a game here.”
As you might imagine, adjusting to life in the Big Apple has been difficult for the 19-year-old.
“I’m happy to be here,” the point guard explained. “It’s a big adjustment, but I like it. It was my dream to be here, and I’m just enjoying it and working hard.”