The New York Knicks are talking to several free-agent point guards, including veteran Rajon Rondo, who can serve as a mentor to their No. 8 pick Frank Ntilikina. Ian Begley of ESPN reported that the Knicks have contacted Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Shelvin Mack. The Knicks were also eyeing George Hill and Darren Collison, but they signed with other teams. Rose looked like he would reunite with the Knicks, but things became uncertain after Phil Jackson was fired as team president.

Rondo, who was recently waived by the Chicago Bulls, is an ideal mentor for Frank Ntilikina, with his pass-first, shoot-later mentality.

However, several people in the Knicks were not too keen on taking Rondo, who has had issues of feuding with coaches during his stint with the Dallas Mavericks and the Bulls. The 27-year-old Mack is seen as a great locker-room presence, but he is viewed by some people in the Knicks organization as a fallback option as a starter. As a backup with the Utah Jazz, Mack averaged eight points and three assists in 23 minutes per game last season.

Knicks also eyeing Celtics’ Marcus Smart

According to an NBA source, the Knicks are also eyeing Celtics point guard Marcus Smart, who is currently being shopped by Boston to create salary cap room for Gordon Hayward’s four-year, $128 million deal. The Knicks will have around $15 million in cap space once they renounce the cap hold on Rose.

Smart will make $4.5 million in the coming season and could become a restricted free agent in 2018.

New York sees the 23-year-old Smart not as a mentor to Ntilikina but as someone who can boost their defense and provide them with instant offense off the bench. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Smart averaged 10.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds last season.

Ntilikina inks rookie deal with Knicks

The Knicks announced that Ntilikina recently signed his four-year, $18.5 million rookie-scale contract with the team. However, he did not suit up for the Knicks at the Orlando summer league due to a bruised knee that he suffered in Game 5 of the French league. Despite missing the summer league, Ntilikina is confident that he can learn the NBA’s style of play immediately.

A 6 foot 5 inch, 190-pound point guard, Ntilikina won the Rising Star Award in the French League in 2016. Also, he led the French national team to the gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. He was given the MVP trophy after averaging 15.2 points, 4.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game.

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