Taj Gibson dropped by Knicks, plans to sign with Wizards
4:35 p.m.: Gibson intends to sign with the Wizards once he clears the waivers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). He will provide Washington with additional frontline depth following the free agent’s departure from Thomas Bryant.
Gibson, 37, played in 52 games for the Knicks last season, averaging 4.4 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 18.2 minutes per game. He has long been a Tom Thibodeau favorite, having also played for the Knicks head coach in Chicago and Minnesota.
Gibson signed a two-year contract with the Knicks in the 2021 offseason, but his second-year salary of $5,155,500 for 2022/23 was not guaranteed. By cutting it, New York will avoid being liable for that money.
In addition to giving up Gibson, New York gave up Ryan Arcidiaconofree agent rights, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Both moves are strong signals that the Knicks intend to move below the cap in order to complete their announced signings of Jalen Brunson, Isaiah Hartensteinand Sims of Jerichorather than staying above the cap by acquiring Brunson by sign-and-trade.
If the Knicks could have transformed their Alec Burk/Nerlens Christmas trade with Detroit in a three-team deal involving Dallas and Brunson, they could theoretically have used their mid-tier exception to sign Hartenstein and Sims, keeping a $9M+ trade exception and the 4.1 semi-annual exception millions of dollars. However, freeing up space for their signatures is the easiest path and will leave them with the $5.4 million exception available.
As for Gibson, there’s a chance he’ll re-sign with the Knicks once he clears the waivers, although a few other teams have shown interest in him, notes SNY.tv’s Ian Begley (Twitter link).