Without Kris Wilkes taking a two-way spot on the New York Knicks roster, a spot is open for someone to take. Kenny Wooten is a potential option.
After the New York Knicks never made it official, Kris Wilkes’ two-way contract was voided. He was set to join the team as an undrafted free agent, but health issues removed him from the summer league and any type of link to the organization.
Now, a spot is open next to Kadeem Allen, the other two-way player. The Knicks have options, but one that sticks out is Kenny Wooten, another undrafted free agent.
Unlike Wilkes, Wooten played for the Knicks in the summer league, appearing in four games in early July. The 1.8 points hardly stand out, but his value came from defensive work, which translated from college with three rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in 13.3 minutes. He averaged 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in two seasons at Oregon.
As a result, the Knicks gave Wooten an Exhibit 10 contract; he can join the team for training camp, but upon potential release, he can sign with New York’s G League team and make $50,000 if on the roster for a certain time span.
Wooten was the first player the Knicks signed to an Exhibit 10 contract this summer, however. Lamar Peters, who also played on the summer league team, followed, but the Manteca, CA native was the most impressive of the two players. Peters had 1.2 points on 2-for-17 shooting.
New York has needed defensive figures for years, and while they have that in Mitchell Robinson and Marcus Morris, Wooten as a reserve, even if only allowed on the main roster for 45 days, provides quality depth in case of injury or a trade down the line. This worked in Allen’s favor after the trade deadline.
Even if neither scenario happens, the Knicks can still sporadically work Wooten with NBA players during the season. The experience is valuable and may work him towards a full-time main spot by 2020-21, with a year of development in Westchester behind him. Luke Kornet worked into that last season, after playing on a two-way contract in 2017-18.
Wooten is among the handful of options for the New York Knicks to consider. They can pluck someone else from summer league or venture outside the organization for an option, with free agents available to take a spot. Perhaps it remains open, as the front office does not have to roster multiple two-way players, so it will be interesting to see what happens.