Knicks Made ‘Strong Push’ to Keep Key Vet From Joining East Rival: Report

RJ Barrett

Getty RJ Barrett and Taj Gibson during Game Four of the New York Knicks first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

The writing was on the wall for journeyman center Taj Gibson after the New York Knicks resigned Mitchell Robinson and brought in Isaiah Hartenstein.

Gibson wasn’t moved in the cap clearing moves that helped land Jalen Brunson, so there was some hope he’d stick around on the roster, but the Knicks ended up waiving him as he was on a non-guaranteed deal.

According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks wanted to bring him back on a minimum deal, but Gibson decided to depart and join the Washington Wizards in free agency.

The center has long been a favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau, and he’s well-liked in the locker room, so his presence on and off the court will be missed by the team.

Gibson Joins Washington

After spending the past three seasons in New York, it looks like Gibson could be finishing up his career with the Wizards, despite the effort made by the Knicks to keep him.

“The Knicks made a strong push to re-sign veteran center Taj Gibson on a one-year minimum deal, per an SNY source,” reported Begley. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he had an opportunity to return to New York post-retirement.”

Gibson was a steady presence for the Knicks last season, especially once Robinson and Nerlens Noel spent much of the year dealing with injuries. With three healthy centers now on the team, it makes sense that Gibson would want to go somewhere he can close out his career with some playing time.

He fills the void left behind by Thomas Bryant who took his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers. The 37-year-old averaged close to 20 minutes per game with the Knicks last season, so he does have something left in the tank to offer.

Knicks Have Several Big Men

Gibson no longer being in New York makes the center position very young with the 24-year-old Robinson leading the charge. Sims just resigned with the team on a proper three-year deal, and he’s already impressing RJ Barrett with his superhuman abilities.

With Obi Toppin also on the roster, the Knicks have their share of high-flyers on the roster and they could be a very fun team to watch next season if the youngsters get to share the floor together. That’s not always a guarantee with Thibodeau as the coach, despite what fans beg for.

Fans can’t forget about the new floor general that was signed this free agency either. Jalen Brunson departed the Dallas Mavericks and joined the Knicks where he’ll become the lead guard and have a better chance at showcasing his talents.

By leaving Luka Doncic’s shadow, he has the chance to blossom into something greater alongside Barrett and Julius Randle. The Knicks will be counting on just that if they want to find a way to get back to the playoffs.

If Randle is able to recapture his All-NBA form and Robinson stays healthy for the whole year, the Knicks could find themselves back in the postseason, despite the increasingly competitive Eastern Conference.

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