Kenny Wooten, a shot-blocking power forward out of Oregon, will join the Knicks for training camp on an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.
Wooten made an impression with New York’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, even though he saw minimal playing time. He averaged just 1.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in four games, but blocked 2.5 shots per night, including five in 16 minutes in a win over Washington in the consolation round.
Wooten will have trouble earning a roster spot in camp because the Knicks already have 15 players with guaranteed contracts. However, the Exhibit 10 deal will guarantee him $50K if he spends 60 days with the organization’s G League affiliate in Westchester. A roster opening could emerge by then, as Berman notes that several of the free agents whom the Knicks signed to de facto one-year contracts could be used as trade bait.
Wooten ranks third in all-time blocks at Oregon, and his agent, Mitchell Butler, claims he is one of the five best athletes coming out of college. The Knicks likely would have drafted Wooten at No. 55, Berman adds, if they hadn’t traded up to get Ignas Brazdeikis.
“The club is positive on Kenny,’’ Butler said. “His Summer League games resonated with the organization. Mitchell Robinson is good on the defensive end and to have Kenny coming in with no drop-off, that’s a big thing. Both of those guys on the floor, they literally shut off the inside and make teams shoot from the perimeter.’’
Butler claims several teams expressed interest in Wooten, but he picked the Knicks because of coach David Fizdale.
“[Fizdale] always appreciated guys who did the little things and comes from organizations like Miami and Memphis that appreciated glue-type guys,’’ Butler said. “I wanted to get him to a coach like that where he‘d have chance at the next level.’’