REPORT: Knicks promised Elfrid Payton starting PG spot during free agency
Apparently, when the New York Knicks signed Elfrid Payton to a two-year $16-million deal this past summer, they did so with a promise of a starting spot.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks assured Payton to be the team’s starting point guard when they recruit him during free agency.
According to a New Orleans source, Elfrid Payton was all but promised he would be the starter when he agreed on a two-year, $16 million deal with the Knicks on July 1. The second year is a team option.
New York currently has a number of options at point guard. However, none of them have stood out in the preseason. Moreover, according to reports, head coach David Fizdale is still undecided who to start.
Payton has been a starter for the most part of his career, but he is facing some competition for the Knicks’ starting PG spot with Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina also in the mix.
The general consensus is Smith Jr. will start for them this season, as he is largely considered their point guard of the future. In fact, he is arguably the best piece they received from the Kristaps Porzingis deal last February.
With that said, it’s hard to imagine the Knicks giving Payton the keys to that position. Smith, however, didn’t have a good showing in his lone preseason appearance against the Atlanta Hawks.
Ntilikina could possibly emerge as a possible candidate down the line. He showed promising strides in his recent FIBA World Cup stint with France and could snag that starting spot should his improvement translate this 2019-20 campaign. However, he’s probably behind Smith and Payton in the depth chart.
The starting gig may be down to Smith and Payton. If this rumor is true, then the Knicks may have created another locker room issue.