Taj Gibson

Pistons’ Stanley Umude Out For Season With Fractured Ankle

Pistons wing Stanley Umude will miss the remainder of the 2023/24 season after sustaining a hairline fracture of his right ankle on Wednesday vs. Indiana, the team announced in a press release.

Umude’s injury will not require surgery and he’s expected to make a full recovery, per the Pistons.

A second-year guard/forward, Umude spent most of this season on a two-way contract with Detroit before the team converted him to a standard deal last month. The Pistons hold a minimum-salary team option on the 24-year-old for ’24/25.

Umude appeared in 24 games in ’23/24, averaging 5.3 points and 2.1 rebounds with a strong .440/.453/.906 shooting line in a small sample size (12.8 MPG). Amid injuries to several rotation players, including Ausar Thompson (blood clot) and Isaiah Stewart (right hamstring strain), who are also done for the season, Umude had started the past two games, playing a career-high 34 minutes on Monday vs. Boston.

Simone Fontecchio (left great toe contusion), Taj Gibson (right hamstring soreness) and Quentin Grimes (right knee contusion) are the other Pistons who have been ruled out for Friday’s rematch with the Celtics.

Tosan Evbuomwan, Evan Fournier and Troy Brown are among the players who could receive more playing time on the wing for a shorthanded Detroit squad.

Taj Gibson Signs With Pistons For Rest Of Season

MARCH 16: Gibson has officially signed a rest-of-season contract with the Pistons, the team announced today (via Twitter).

MARCH 15: Veteran big man Taj Gibson will sign with the Pistons for the remainder of the 2023/24 season, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As Woj notes, Gibson’s 10-day deal with Detroit will expire at midnight ET. He’s expected to sign his rest-of-season contract on Saturday.

Gibson, 38, spent a portion of this season with the Knicks, having signed a non-guaranteed contract with the team in December.

The 15-year veteran was waived on January 7 before his full salary could become guaranteed, then returned to New York on a pair of 10-day deals in January and February. However, the club opted not to bring him back on a rest-of-season contract when the second of those deals expired.

At this point in his career, Gibson is most valued for his veteran leadership and presence in the locker room, though he did appear in 16 games for the Knicks this season, averaging 1.0 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 10.3 MPG. He didn’t play at all for Detroit during his first 10 days with the team.

Once Gibson officially signs his new contract tomorrow, the Pistons will have 14 players on standard deals, which means they’ll still have an opening on their 15-man roster.

Central Notes: Mathurin, Gibson, Pistons Guards, Bulls

Losing Pacers reserve shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin for the year will have an intriguing ripple effect on the team’s bench as it prepares for the postseason, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

As Dopirak notes, Indiana is now without two of its top-scoring reserves from the start of the season, between Mathurin and Buddy Hield, who was dealt to the Sixers at the trade deadline. Forward Doug McDermott, the Pacers’ own sharpshooting acquisition added at the deadline, continues to rehabilitate his right calf strain, though he’ll be a big part of the bench when he does play. Rookies Ben Sheppard and Jarace Walker seem likely to get significantly more responsibility as the season winds down.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Workaholic new Pistons veteran power forward Taj Gibson, 38, is over a decade older than most of his new teammates. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes that the 10-53 club appreciates Gibson’s daily grind, even in his 15th NBA season, and hopes that he can inspire the Pistons’ young, talented lottery pick core. Gibson is on a 10-day deal, so there’s no guarantee he’ll remain with in Detroit for the rest of the season.
  • The Pistons’ decision to, at last, stagger young guards Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey so that one of them remained on the floor at all times seemed to work wonders on Thursday in a 118-112 win over the Nets, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Head coach Monty Williams opted to employ a lineup of Cunningham alongside his second unit in the third quarter that really helped the club hold serve against Brooklyn.
  • Young Bulls guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu have each taken big leaps in their development this season, with White in particular enjoying a breakout year. A lot of their growth has happened with star shooting guard Zach LaVine, the team’s priciest player, sidelined due to injury. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic thinks the improvement of the young guards could be negatively impacted by a LaVine comeback next year, and wonders if the Chicago front office will look to offload the two-time All-Star.

Central Notes: Middleton, Vucevic, Craig, Gibson

Bucks wing Khris Middleton, out since Feb. 6 with an ankle injury, spoke to reporters for the first time since his injury, writes Jim Owczarski of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Middleton said he couldn’t think of a worse ankle sprain he’d had than this one in terms of the pain he’s experiencing.

After it happened I tried to play, run it off a little bit, see if it was going to loosen up or whatever. Just didn’t. Didn’t feel comfortable,” Middleton said. “Went into the back, tried to get re-taped, and as soon as I took my shoe off it just blew up. So had to shut it down.

He said the process of recovery has taken longer than he’s hoped, but that he has seen improvement. He also said he wouldn’t rule out playing on Milwaukee’s road trip that ends against Sacramento on March 12. The only obstacle left before Middleton is able to return is continued swelling, according to Owczarski.

Middleton knows he needs to play soon to be able to get back to normal form in time for the postseason. He began the year on a minutes restriction and has only played three games under Doc Rivers. With only 19 games remaining in the regular season, Middleton, who is averaging 14.8 points per game this season, is eager to get back into game action.

I want to get back out there,” Middleton said. “I need to be playing. I’ve been on a minute restriction most of the year so at this point I just need to be on the court. So, I’m fighting every day that I can.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Nikola Vucevic has been one of the team’s best defenders over the last three years, and the numbers back that claim up, writes Joe Cowley of Chicago Sun-Times. Vucevic consistently ranks among the team leaders in defensive rating, and Donovan likes the way he can utilize the 13th-year big man. “He’s not going to be as good as [Timberwolves center] Rudy Gobert in drop, but we felt comfortable switching with him in certain situations and putting him on different guys, and he understands how to gap and move his feet,” Donovan said. “He’s a smart defender. I would say he’s played very well for us defensively.
  • Bulls forward Torrey Craig, who hasn’t played since Feb. 14 and has played just six games since Dec. 16, made his return to the lineup against the Warriors on Thursday. According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson (Twitter link), he was on a restriction of 12-to-16 minutes.
  • The Pistons signed Taj Gibson to a 10-day deal on Wednesday after he spent time with the Knicks earlier this season. Head coach Monty Williams explained the signing, saying that he envisions Gibson helping young players like Jalen Duren (Twitter link via The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III). “I just like having another veteran guy around our team,” Williams said, per Omari Sankofa II of Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). “You look at Evan [Fournier] and how he’s had an impact on the floor and some other areas. I told the guys how you approach your career can pay dividends down the road. He’s had a 15-year-career.

Pistons Sign Taj Gibson To 10-Day Deal

10:01am: Gibson’s 10-day contract is now official, the Pistons confirmed in a press release (Twitter link). It will run through next Friday, March 15.

8:42am: The Pistons are set to sign veteran big man Taj Gibson to a 10-day contract, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Gibson, 38, spent a portion of this season with the Knicks, having signed a non-guaranteed contract with the team in December.

He was waived on January 7 before his full salary could become guaranteed, then returned to New York on a pair of 10-day deals in January and February. However, the club opted not to bring him back on a rest-of-season contract when the second of those deals expired.

At this point in his career, Gibson is most valued more for his veteran leadership and presence in the locker room, which is presumably why the Pistons want to add him to their young roster. However, he did appear in 16 games for the Knicks this season, averaging 1.0 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 10.3 MPG.

The Pistons recently opened up a pair of roster spots by waiving Mike Muscala and Shake Milton, so they’re only carrying 13 players on standard contracts. Even after signing Gibson, they’ll still have an opening on their 15-man roster.

Gibson will earn $183,704 over the course of his 10 days with Detroit, while the club carries a cap hit of $116,075.

Assuming the deal is finalized on Wednesday or Thursday, he’ll be under contract for the Pistons’ next five games before the team would have to decide whether to re-sign him or let him go.

10-Day Contracts Expire For Knicks, Raptors

Taj Gibson‘s second 10-day contract with the Knicks expired overnight, making him an unrestricted free agent once again. The 10-day deals signed by Raptors forwards Justise Winslow and Mouhamadou Gueye on February 10 also expired overnight.

Both the Knicks and Raptors are now below the NBA-mandated minimum of 14 players on standard contracts and will have to re-add players to their roster in the near future.

[RELATED: 2023/24 NBA Roster Counts]

Teams are permitted to dip below 14 players for up to two weeks at a time, but because Gibson was only the Knicks’ 13th man and New York has actually been carrying fewer than 14 players since February 8, the club will have to make two roster additions by this Thursday (Feb. 22).

One of those additions could be Gibson, but since he has already signed two 10-day contracts with the Knicks, the team would have to give him a rest-of-season deal to bring him back.

The Raptors, meanwhile, are now at 13 players and will have until March 5 to fill at least one of the two openings on their 15-man roster. Given that Toronto has a good amount of flexibility below the luxury tax line and will likely want take a longer look at some young players, I wouldn’t expect the team to take the full two weeks to fill one or both of those open roster spots. For what it’s worth, both Winslow and Gueye are eligible to sign one more 10-day deal with the team.

Three other 10-day contracts around the NBA remain active — Zhaire Smith‘s deal with the Cavaliers runs through this Thursday, as does Tosan Evbuomwan‘s agreement with the Pistons. Jordan Goodwin‘s contract with the Grizzlies will cover one extra day, running through Friday.

All three of those contracts will actually remain active for more than 10 days, since 10-day contracts must cover at least three games. Smith, Evbuomwan, and Goodwin each only got two games before the All-Star break, so their “10-day” deals will actually cover 11 or 12 days. That wasn’t the case for Gibson, Winslow, or Gueye, as the Knicks and Raptors each played three contests between Feb. 10 and the start of the All-Star break.

New York Notes: DiVincenzo, Knicks’ Roster, Johnson, Bridges

Knicks swingman Donte DiVincenzo would like to represent Italy in this year’s Summer Olympics but it apparently won’t happen.

“Ideally, I would love to,” DiVincenzo told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “Logistically and how everything plays out, I don’t know if it’s possible. But if everything works out perfectly, I would love to.”

However, in a follow-up story, Bondy said he received an email from a representative from the Italian Basketball Federation stating that DiVincenzo couldn’t be added to the team.

“For the next Olympic Games there would not be the time to complete the procedures to provide him with an Italian passport,” Francesco D’Aniello wrote.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The Knicks only have 13 players on standard contracts and need to add at least one more. According to Ian Begley of SNY TV, signing one – or more — of their G League players to a standard contract is a possibility. Charlie Brown Jr., Jacob Toppin and Duane Washington are currently on two-way deals and may be candidates for a promotion, while Taj Gibson, who is currently on a 10-day deal, could receive a rest-of-the-season contract, Begley adds.
  • Nets forward Cameron Johnson returned to action on Wednesday after missing four games with a left adductor strain. He came off the bench and played 18 minutes, contributed four points, three rebounds and two assists. Johnson started in all 40 of his previous appearances but Dorian Finney-Smith got the starting nod with Johnson on a minutes restriction. Coach Jacque Vaughn will have to choose between the two of them going forward, unless he wants to put Cam Thomas in a sixth man role again, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post,
  • The Nets’ last game before the All-Star break was a disaster, as they lost by 50 to the first-place Celtics. Forward Mikal Bridges told Lewis that the team shouldn’t forget about the loss. “Yeah, I mean you gotta learn and fix the issue; that’s pretty much what it is. You can’t just let this one go and think like, ‘Oh, like, let it drop.’ No,” he said. “Yeah, maybe if you lost towards the end, but you got beat by 50. It’s not just, ‘Let it go.’ A lot of (bleep) is not right, and you’ve got to fix it.”

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Knicks, Olynyk, Agbaji, Brown, Sixers

The Knicks appear to have avoided an injury scare with Jalen Brunson, as the All-Star point guard returned to the lineup on Saturday following a one-game absence due to an ankle sprain. Brunson showed no ill effects from the injury, scoring 39 points on 14-of-25 shooting, per Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post.

Despite Brunson’s return and the debuts of newly acquired role players Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, the Knicks remained shorthanded due to injuries and lost on Saturday to Indiana, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. The team is especially banged up in the frontcourt, where Precious Achiuwa was forced to play 43 minutes vs. the Pacers. With Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Jericho Sims all inactive, Taj Gibson logged 19 minutes on the first day of his second 10-day contract with New York.

“I thought for the first game (with the new additions), there were some obviously good things and obviously there’s a lot for them to adjust to. As a team, I think we have to do a lot better,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’re shorthanded. We’re going to have to play a lot harder and a lot tougher.”

While their first game with the Knicks didn’t go as planned, both Bogdanovic and Burks expressed excitement about the opportunity to join a playoff team after spending the first half of the season with the league-worst Pistons. According to Botte, Burks – a former Knick – didn’t want to leave New York in the first place and said repeatedly that he’s “glad to be back.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • As Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca details, new Raptors Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji both have connections to the franchise — Olynyk grew up in Toronto rooting for the Raptors, while Agbaji’s father is old friends with team president Masai Ujiri. The two former Jazz players expressed excitement about their new circumstances, with Agbaji suggesting it feels like a “fresh new start” and Olynyk noting that he and the Raptors have had mutual interest in the past. “It’s always been on our radar, both of our radars,” the big man said. “I think maybe it’s been close [before], but it’s hard for me to know [for sure]… But [now that] it did happen, it’s pretty awesome.”
  • Raptors wing Bruce Brown was considered one of the top trade candidates on the market leading up to the deadline, but he ended up staying put. He’s happy with that outcome, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets. “It feels great, it feels great,” said Brown, whose contract includes a $23MM team option for 2024/25. “Obviously it’s nice to have some stability. … I”m glad to be here for the rest of the season and then try and work things out.”
  • Although the Raptors were enthusiastic about the moves they made on the trade market, they’ve completed a full-fledged overhaul of their roster in the past six weeks or so, and their lack of continuity showed in Saturday’s blowout loss to Cleveland, Grange writes at Sportsnet.ca. “Obviously, it’s really tough,” Olynyk said. “You don’t know really what’s going on on both ends of the floor. I think that was probably pretty evident in the first half.”
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at a “whirlwind” couple days for Sixers trade deadline additions Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne, who played significant minutes as starters for an injury-depleted Philadelphia team on Friday, then helped lead their new club to a victory in Washington on Saturday.

Knicks Sign Taj Gibson To Second 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 10: Gibson officially signed his second 10-day contract with the Knicks, according to team PR (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 9: The Knicks are bringing back Taj Gibson on a second 10-day contract, reports Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Gibson’s first 10-day deal expired on Thursday night.

The move comes as no real surprise, given that Gibson is a Tom Thibodeau favorite and the Knicks have no shortage of roster spots available after trading four players to Detroit on Thursday and only taking back two in return. Even after re-signing the 38-year-old, New York will have two openings on its 15-man roster.

Thibodeau made it clear on Thursday that he hoped Gibson would be re-signed, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

“It’s obvious. He’s been terrific,” Thibodeau said. “On any team, at any time, he’s a great addition. So I’m hopeful. (President of basketball operations) Leon (Rose) will (look at) everything and we’ll always do what’s best for the team. But everyone in the organization loves him and has an appreciation for him.”

This will be the third contract Gibson has signed with the Knicks this season. He initially rejoined the team on December 15 on a non-guaranteed deal and was waived on January 7, before his full-season cap hit was locked in. New York brought him back on a 10-day contract on Jan. 30.

Gibson typically wouldn’t be part of the Knicks’ rotation, but he has been forced into action several times this season due to frontcourt injuries. He logged 22 minutes in Thursday’s loss to Dallas, with Isaiah Hartenstein departing that contest early due to a sore left Achilles (Twitter link via Steve Popper of Newsday).

Gibson will earn a $183,704 salary over the course of his 10-day deal, while New York will carry a $116,075 cap hit. The contract will cover the team’s next three games before expiring during the All-Star break. If the Knicks want to retain him beyond that, they’ll need to offer a rest-of-season deal.

Knicks Re-Sign Taj Gibson To 10-Day Contract

12:17pm: The Knicks have officially confirmed Gibson’s new 10-day contract with the team (Twitter link).

10:17am: Just over three weeks after he was waived by the Knicks, veteran big man Taj Gibson has agreed to return to Tom Thibodeau‘s club. Gibson will sign a 10-day contract with New York, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

A Thibodeau favorite who played for the Knicks from 2019-22, Gibson signed a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary contract with the team on December 15 and appeared in 10 games, averaging 1.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per night.

Initially expected to merely provide some frontcourt depth and locker room leadership, the 38-year-old saw more playing time than anticipated due to injuries to centers Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims. However, when Sims got healthy and the Knicks traded for Precious Achiuwa, Gibson once again found himself pushed down the depth chart and was waived on January 7, just before his full-season salary could become guaranteed.

The Knicks have held that 15th roster spot open in recent weeks and once again have a need for frontcourt depth following Julius Randle‘s shoulder injury. Gibson likely won’t immediately step into New York’s rotation, but he’s a veteran whom the coaching staff trusts and can turn to if needed.

Assuming his deal is finalized today, Gibson will be under contract through next Thursday, February 8. He’ll earn a $183,704 salary over the course of his 10-day deal, while New York will carry a $116,075 cap hit.