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Sources: Knicks in touch with Rajon Rondo for Frank Ntilikina mentor role

People in touch with the New York Knicks this week came away with the impression that the team has two distinct short-term goals: to find a suitable trade for Carmelo Anthony and to find a veteran point guard to help mentor rookie Frank Ntilikina.

Members of the organization remain hopeful they can find a trade for Anthony that makes sense for all parties (Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, has made it known that he'd waive it for a trade to Houston or Cleveland, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski).

The Knicks are interested in Rajon Rondo as a veteran mentor to rookie Frank Ntilikina. Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports
So what about the point guard spot?

The Knicks have touched base with free agents Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Shelvin Mack. They were also in contact with George Hill and Darren Collison, but both guards signed elsewhere.

Rose has met with the Clippers and Bucks, Wojnarowski reported, and he has some supporters in the Knicks organization. But there is far from a consensus on bringing Rose back. The interest in bringing Rose back on a team-friendly contract was "legitimate" before Phil Jackson was fired, according to sources.

What about Rondo? It would seem that Rondo is a strong free-agent option for New York because he could teach Ntilikina the importance and art of sharing the ball at the NBA level. But several people in touch with the Knicks earlier in the week got the impression that not everyone in the organization was high on Rondo.

Mack, 27, is a six-year veteran and a great locker-room presence. But he averaged eight points and three assists in 23 minutes per game last season and is viewed as a fallback option as a starter by some in the organization, according to sources.

The Knicks, among other teams, were also contacted by the Boston Celtics about a potential Marcus Smart trade earlier this week, sources said. The Knicks' interest in Smart is unclear at this point, but you can assume the Celtics would want someone like Willy Hernangomez and/or a pick back in a trade. If so, that would be a steep price for a rebuilding team such as the Knicks to pay.

The Knicks, who have about $15 million in cap space if they rescind the rights to Rose, also showed interest in Dion Waiters. But Waiters decided to re-sign with the Miami Heat on Wednesday. According to Wojnarowski, Waiters agreed to a deal with the Heat worth $13 million annually. That kind of offer would have taken up most of the Knicks' cap space -- unless they would've cleared some room via trade.

That's an option members of the organization have explored during free agency, according to sources.

The obvious candidates for trades are Courtney Lee and Kyle O'Quinn. And that's where we get to Spurs restricted free agent Jonathon Simmons.

The Knicks have been in touch with Simmons but would probably need to trade Lee or O'Quinn to make a competitive offer for Simmons, one of the top young two-way players on the market. Earlier this week, Simmons was in active talks with two other teams. The Knicks probably need to make a move soon if they have serious interest in Simmons. Their recent contact with him would suggest they're at least open to that.

Source: http://www.espn.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/66630/sources-knicks-in-touch-with-rajon-rondo-as-potential-frank-ntilikina-mentor

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