CHICAGO - Kai Sotto's quest to land a coveted roster spot in the NBA Summer League is gaining steam.
After "doing good" in the Jazz mini camp and impressing team owner Mark Cuban during the Mavericks workout last Tuesday, Sotto is headed to his third and last open audition next week.
Apparently, Tony Ronzone of Wasserman Sports, who has been diligently curating the Filipino wunderkind's NBA dream, has saved the best for last.
Sotto will attend the New York Knicks mini camp, joining other prospects at the team's practice facility in a three-day grind from June 12 to 14, Ronzone told SPIN.ph.
A winning franchise, steeped in the tradition of Stockton and Malone, the Jazz are revered as one of the most respected franchises in the NBA. So are the Mavericks, whose biggest star - Dirk Nowitzki - will be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame this coming August 12.
But the Knicks are just different. Iconic in so many ways.
It's New York. The Big Apple. Times Square. Wall Street. Broadway.
And of course, Madison Square Garden, the revered "Mecca of Basketball."
With the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as head coach in July 2020 plus the arrival of free agent star guard Jalen Brunson last year, the Knicks are on the rise and have ended a playoffs drought that stretched from 2013 to 2020.
The NBA Summer League takes place from July 7 to July 17.
Assuming Kai gets a roster spot, the timeline still allows ample room for him to meander over to the Philippines for the World Cup before going back to the Hiroshima Dragonflies of the Japan B.League or to the NBA, if he indeed gets the golden ticket.
Sotto had recently reiterated that he never said no to playing for Gilas Pilipinas.
The SBP reciprocated that gesture by putting Kai's name in the 21-man pool that began practicing on Tuesday at the Meralco Gym.
One top coach said Sotto is one player Gilas can't do without at the World Cup.
"Kai would be a big help. Size and talent-wise he would be a crucial factor for our frontline. This would mean we can bring in Justin Brownlee or Jordan Clarkson as our naturalized player.
"Without Kai we will still need a big man of international caliber as our naturalized player."
Hopefully, it all works out.