1:46 pm: The Knicks are waiving big man Omari Spellman to clear room to sign a veteran free agent, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), the club plans to sign Taj Gibson to fill its newly-opened roster spot.
As we detailed earlier today, the Knicks were said to be one of many teams keeping an eye on Gibson, who reportedly worked out for seven clubs, including the Wizards. With Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel, and Spellman all battling injuries, New York had been monitoring the free agent market for help in the frontcourt, eyeing Gibson and Tyson Chandler, among others.
While it’s not official yet, it sounds like the team will reunite with Gibson, who was a Knick in 2019/20 and has played for head coach Tom Thibodeau for much of his NBA career, including in both Chicago and Minnesota. It seems unlikely that Gibson’s new deal will be worth more than the minimum, but the Knicks – armed with $18MM in cap room – certainly have the flexibility to go higher.
Gibson, 35, started 56 of the 62 games he played for New York last season, averaging 6.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 16.5 minutes per contest. The club reportedly liked the job he did as a veteran mentor for young center Mitchell Robinson.
As for Spellman, the third-year big man came over from Minnesota in an offseason trade that sent Ed Davis to the Timberwolves. He was cited as a possible release candidate in December when the Knicks were mulling the possibility of retaining Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the regular season, and also had his fourth-year team option for 2021/22 declined last month, so it comes as no surprise that he’ll be the odd man out.
Spellman, a former first-round pick who has struggled with conditioning during his NBA career, will still receive his $1.99MM salary for 2020/21, since his contract is fully guaranteed. Having declined his fourth-year option, the Knicks won’t be on the hook for any money beyond this season.
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