A reunion that has been rumored for the last 48 hours or so appears to have came to fruition Thursday afternoon. The New York Knicks are reuniting with big man Taj Gibson according to reports. Not only does Gibson signing with the Knicks bring the 11-year veteran back to the team he played for last season, the Brooklyn native will have the opportunity to join Tom Thibodeau again. Thibodeau coached Gibson with Chicago from the 2011-2012 season to the 2014-2105 season. The pair teamed up for a pair of seasons in Minnesota as well.
Ian Begley of SNY first reported the news. The Atlantic’s Shams Charnia confirmed the signing.
The speculaton about New York bringing Gibson back began after injuries to rookie first round draft pick Obi Toppin and Nerlins Noel left the roster’s frontcourt thin. Gibson started at center for the Knicks last season while Mitchell Robinson served as his backup. Robinson is now the Knicks starter. Gibson will provide depth and leadership. Robinson played 41 minutes against Utah Wednesday night with Noel injured.
The 35 year old Gibson appeared in 62 games with the Knicks last season, starting 56 games. He averaged 6.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in just over 16 minutes a contest. Gibson is one of several veterans New York parted company with during the offseason. Elfrid Payton was also let go and resigned.
The Knicks also announced that they are waving Omari Spellman. The move will open up a roster spot for Gibson. The former Villanova Wildcat has been battling a sore knee. Spellman had been inactive for all seven games prior to last night when he dressed but did not play. He played four minutes in a preseason game.
Gibson played his college basketball at USC and was the 26th overall pick by the Bulls in the 2009 NBA Draft.
The Knicks are off to a 5-3 start and have won five of their last six. Signing Gibson could be an indication that the early-season success has the leadership in New York transtioning their mindset from a developmental year to a possible playoff run.
(Photo-Nell Redmond/Associated Press)