Knicks Add Two Players, Including Familiar Face, via Hardship Exception

Damyean Dotson Knicks

Getty New York Knicks wing Damyean Dotson looks on during a 2020 game against the Phoenix Suns.

The New York Knicks were able to play on December 18 against the Celtics, and they’ll hit the court again on Tuesday versus the Detroit Pistons. However, the club still finds itself in a particularly tough spot where COVID-19 is concerned.

Although RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin are likely nearing their respective exits from health and safety protocols, both have been ruled out for the Pistons game. Joining them in protocols are Immanuel Quickley, Kevin Knox, Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

As if that weren’t enough, Derrick Rose is listed as questionable due to a sore right ankle. However, help is soon on the way for the ailing Knicks.

On Monday, the team announced the return of wing Damyean Dotson with a 10-day contract. One day later, former Cavs guard Matt Mooney put pen to paper on a similar pact with the Knicks. Both players were signed by way of the league’s hardship exception.

Dotson Is Back in the Big Apple

Although Dotson spent the 2020-21 campaign with the Cavs — and he had been balling with the G League’s Austin Spurs this season — his face is a familiar one for Knicks fans. After getting drafting by New York in the second round back in 2017, he went on to play three seasons with the franchise.

After splitting time between Westchester and NYC as a rookie, Dotson’s year-two emergence was one of the few good things that happened with the Knicks during the 2018-19 campaign.

The Houston, Texas product appeared in 73 games that season (including 40 starts) and averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27.5 minutes per contest. Along the way, he knocked down 36.8% of his three-point attempts.

Unfortunately, surgery to repair a torn labrum disrupted his start to the 2019-20 campaign. And David Fizdale — who had given Dotson his first real opportunity — also got fired just 22 games into the season. So, he was never quite the same player during his third go-round with the Knicks.

At the end of the year, the team opted to let him walk. The 27-year-old subsequently shot career-low percentages with Cleveland in ’20-21.

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Mooney Has Starred in the G League This Season

After going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2019, Mooney worked his way into a two-way spot with the Cavs midway through the ’19-20 season. However, he would ultimately appear in just four games for Cleveland, logging 19 total minutes and going 1-for-4 from the field over that stretch.

To date, that has been the 24-year-old’s only taste of NBA action. However, he has really made the most of his time in the G League this season.

Over 12 games with the Mexico City Capitanes, the 6-foot-3 Mooney has put up 15.2 points, 4.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals per contest. His shooting splits of 42-28-71 are nothing to write home about, but he is at 35.3% from three and 84.8% from the charity stripe for his G League career. And he posted similar numbers as a collegiate.


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