Taj Gibson

New York Notes: Harden, Durant, Irving, Gibson

Nets owner Joe Tsai is hopeful that James Harden will finish his career in Brooklyn, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Harden has yet to sign an extension but Tsai believes Harden is in it for the long-term. “The way I look at it is he’s already said I want to play and finish my career in Brooklyn: He’s actually said that. And our job is to make sure that he continues to feel that way,” Tsai said. “Obviously, if we win a championship and also have the chance to win multiple championships down the road, that’s going to be even more convincing, more compelling.“

We have more from the New York City teams:

  • Nets perennial All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who has already signed a four-year extension, says he’s still evolving as a player and is focused on being as good as ever, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. “I really feel like I have been growing every single day and I am starting to understand the game a little bit more,” Durant said. “I kind of simplified it for myself. I try not to chase anything outside of just being the best that I can be on the floor … Yeah, it’s made me at ease a little bit.”
  • While Tsai respects Kyrie Irving‘s feelings regarding his reluctance to be vaccinated, he wants to remind his star point guard about the team’s ultimate aim, Lewis writes. “What is our goal this year? What’s our purpose this year? It’s very, very clear: Win a championship. And the championship team needs to have everybody pulling the same direction,” Tsai said. “So, I hope to see Kyrie play fully and win a championship together with everybody else, with all his teammates. That’s the best outcome for everybody.”
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is very happy Taj Gibson re-signed with the team on a two-year, $10.1MM deal, as Mark Sanchez of the New York Post notes. “Whether he’s [in or] not in the rotation, he’s practicing hard, helping his teammates, helping the team any way he can,” Thibodeau said. “If you have to play him off the bench, he can handle that. If you want to plug him in as a starter, he can handle that. He’s played two positions his entire career. He’s invaluable to us.”

Knicks Notes: Gibson, Redick, Randle, Rookies

Taj Gibson talked to several teams in free agency and some offered more money than the Knicks, but he preferred to stay in New York with coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Owen O’Brien of Newsday. Gibson re-signed for $10.1MM over two years with a team option on the second season.

“It was real frustrating, but it was a good frustrating,” Gibson said of the free agency experience. “But at the same time, I knew I made the right decision. Money doesn’t move me, I just wanted to be a Knick.”

Keeping Gibson was part of a busy offseason for New York, which added Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier in addition to re-signing several key parts of last season’s 41-31 team. Gibson said the Knicks look “really stacked” and he’s looking forward to resuming his role as one of their veteran leaders.

“They know I’m always willing and ready to play, but right now I’m just happy to be the vet on the team,” he said. “The guy that comes in and works out hard every day — but always capable — and I’m having a good time being with these young guys every day and just trying to build a culture.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Free agent guard J.J. Redick, who is rumored to have interest in joining the Knicks or Nets, doesn’t expect to be with a team when training camps open next month, relays Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post. Redick, who prefers to play close to his family in Brooklyn, talked about the situation on his “Old Man and the Three” podcast. “We’ll make a decision on next season — what team, what city, etc. — probably sometime in the next two or three months,” Redick said. “… But, you know, I would say, pretty much definitively, like, I won’t be in a training camp to start the season. That’s not gonna happen.”
  • Now that Julius Randle has a four-year extension in place, he wants to do everything he can to build a championship team, including serving as a recruiter in free agency, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks had more than $50MM in cap space this summer, but didn’t land any top-tier free agents, spending most of that money to keep their own players. “I told them if they need me to help, I’ll definitely get involved,” Randle said. “At the end of the day, winning is all that matters. My biggest goal is to win a championship here in New York. Whatever I can help to make that happen, to bring a championship to the city, they need me to help and get a player, I’m confident we’re doing that for sure.”
  • Randle paid close attention to the Summer League team and said Thibodeau loves the work ethic displayed by rookies Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes and Jericho Sims, Berman adds. “When I saw those guys, man, they’re competitive and they’re skilled,” Randle said. “Those guys sound like they’re going to get in and add to our core guys.”

Knicks Notes: Fournier, Gibson, Rose, Burks

The Knicks have formally announced many of their offseason free agent signings in recent days, with new deals for Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Taj Gibson all becoming official.

We’re still waiting on the team to finalize its four-year extension for Julius Randle, along with some minor signings like Dwayne Bacon. But the flurry of transactions this week means that we now have details on several of the Knicks’ new contracts. Let’s dive in and round them up…

  • As we relayed earlier today, Evan Fournier has $1.5MM per year in unlikely incentives on his new four-year deal. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video), the majority of those bonuses are related to team success — Fournier would earn an extra $1MM, for instance, if the Knicks were to win the title. There are also bonuses related to All-Star and All-NBA nods, which are a long shot to be earned.
  • Taj Gibson‘s new two-year deal features a team option for the 2022/23 season, according to Marks.
  • Marks says the cap hits on Derrick Rose‘s new three-year contract are $13.4MM, $14.5MM, and $15.6MM. Those are likely rounded figures, as the most the Knicks could’ve offered Rose using his Early Bird rights was approximately $13.445MM in year one, $14.521MM in year two, and $15.596MM in year three. The deal, which includes a third-year team option, comes in at about $43.56MM.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets the details of Alec Burks‘ three-year, $30MM+ contract, which are identical to what Burks would’ve received if he were signed using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. The Knicks used cap room to sign Burks, but as Marks observes, they may have structured the agreement that way early in free agency in case they found a way to stay over the cap all offseason and needed the MLE for Burks.

Knicks Re-Sign Taj Gibson To Two-Year Contract

AUGUST 18: The Knicks have officially re-signed Gibson, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

AUGUST 17: The Knicks and veteran big man Taj Gibson have reached an agreement to adjust the terms of the deal they initially agreed upon two weeks ago, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Gibson, who had been set to sign a one-year, minimum-salary deal, will actually receive a two-year deal worth $10.1MM, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Wojnarowski.

The Knicks have been slowly completing their offseason signings, starting with Nerlens Noel, Kemba Walker, and – most recently – Evan Fournier. New deals for Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, and Gibson have yet to be announced as New York determines the best way to maximize its cap space.

We’ll have to wait for more details on the adjustment to Gibson’s deal, but it sounds as if the Knicks determined they were in position to accommodate a slightly more lucrative salary for the 36-year-old. It’s a win-win for Gibson, who gets rewarded for his locker-room leadership over the last two seasons, and for the Knicks, who will now have a more tradable contract on the books without sacrificing any real cap flexibility.

The Knicks will use their room exception to complete the signing, as Bobby Marks of ESPN confirms (via Twitter). That exception allows for a two-year deal worth $10,065,500. New York had Early Bird rights on Gibson, but renounced him earlier in free agency in order to maximize cap room.

Gibson appeared in 45 games for the Knicks during the 2020/21 season, averaging 5.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 20.8 minutes per contest. He figures to provide depth up front behind centers Mitchell Robinson and Noel next season.

Knicks Notes: Fournier, Sims, Gibson, Bullock, Guarantees, Point Guards

In a story for The New York Post, Marc Berman describes how the Knicks came to terms with free agent Evan Fournier while the veteran wingman is in the midst of an Olympic run with the French national team. Berman writes that Fournier’s relationship with former Magic head coach Steve Clifford, a close friend of Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, likely played a part in the Knicks’ decision to pursue the 6’7″ wing.

I’d bet the Knicks signed him because Clifford raved to Thibs about how much Fournier wants to win and is about all the right things,’’ a source from Orlando told Berman. “Cliff says that Fournier is one of the toughest players — mentally and physically — that he’s ever coached.’’

We have more news from the Knicks:

  • In a separate article, Berman writes that Jericho Sims, the athletic center out of Texas taken with the 58th pick, is likely to receive a two-way contract, thereby limiting him to a maximum of 50 games with the Knicks. Sims is set to play for the Knicks in Summer League.
  • According to Ian Begley of SNY, Taj Gibson – who agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary contract to stay in New York – had significant interest around the league, but the Knicks sold him on his importance to their culture and the team’s development going forward.
  • Begley also writes that the Knicks and Mavericks were interested in exploring a sign-and-trade for wing Reggie Bullock earlier in free agency, but that it’s unclear if such a deal has been pursued since Bullock committed to the Mavs.
  • All of the contracts the Knicks agreed to on Monday — Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and Evan Fournier — will be not fully guaranteed in their final year, Begley reports. Rose, Burks, and Noel will sign for three years apiece, while Fournier agreed to a four-year deal. Begley erroneously reported on Monday that Burks’ three-year deal was fully guaranteed.
  • Finally, Begley writes that with the Knicks are interested in pursuing another point guard with their remaining cap space. Dennis Schroder and Reggie Jackson remain the two most prominent names on the point guard market.

Knicks To Re-Sign Taj Gibson

Taj Gibson will re-sign with the Knicks for another year, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Gibson will be a veteran’s minimum deal worth about $2.64MM.

The 36-year-old center/power forward is a favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau and was with him in Chicago and Minnesota as well.

Gibson played for the Knicks in 2019/20, then returned to the team in early January and was part of the frontcourt rotation for the rest of the season, averaging 5.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in 45 games.

Gibson is the Knicks’ fourth free agent to commit to staying with the team, joining Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel. The club is also adding Evan Fournier on a four-year deal.

Since Gibson’s new deal will be worth the minimum, the Knicks can use up all their cap room before going over the cap to finalize the signing.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Draft Night, Point Guards, Gibson

July 31 marked the trigger date for Julius Randle‘s contract guarantee, so the Knicks now owe him the full $19.8MM for next season, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. There was no suspense about whether New York would be willing to pay Randle that much in the wake of a career season that saw him win the Most Improved Player award and earn second-team All-NBA honors.

The real intrigue this offseason involves a four-year, $106MM+ extension that Randle is eligible to receive. The Knicks have plenty of incentive to sign him at that figure, as Randle could potentially make a lot more next summer as an unrestricted free agent, particularly if he puts together another All-NBA season. New York will have his Bird rights if that happens and can exceed the salary cap to re-sign him.

Randle joined the Knicks two years ago on a three-year, $63MM contract that carried just a $4MM guarantee for 2021/22. His game blossomed in New York, especially under new coach Tom Thibodeau, as he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per night while leading the team to the No. 4 seed in the East.

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks’ decision to trade the 19th pick in this year’s draft to the Hornets for a heavily protected future selection was done to free up another $2.4MM for free agency, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, citing an NBA executive who has talked to team president Leon Rose. New York never planned to use both of its first-round picks Thursday night and was happy to get Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride after trading down.
  • Even if the Knicks can’t lure top targets Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry in free agency, they will have plenty of options at point guard, Berman adds. With more than $50MM in cap space, New York can outbid rival teams for Spencer DinwiddieCameron Payne, Dennis Schroder or Reggie Jackson. Restricted free agent Lonzo Ball remains a possibility, but the Knicks saw him as a better fit in February than they do now, sources tell Berman. Re-signing Derrick Rose, a favorite of Thibodeau, remains on the table, although the front office is debating whether to make a long-term offer to Rose, who will turn 33 in October. The Bulls may get into the bidding for the Chicago native.
  • Saturday’s decision to waive backup center Norvel Pelle increases the chances that Taj Gibson will be back on the roster next season, Berman states in a separate story. A source told Berman the Knicks would consider re-signing Pelle at some point during the season if injuries leave them needing help in the middle.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Payton, Gibson, Barrett

The Knicks need a quick turnaround from Julius Randle to salvage their series with the Hawks, but coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t worried about his star forward, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Randle averaged 24.1 points per game during the regular season, but has been limited to 15, 15, and 14 points as Atlanta has taken a 2-1 series lead.

“Just be Julius. I don’t want him overthinking it,’’ Thibodeau said. “Let the game come to you. Sometimes you’re going to get your shots, sometimes you got to make the play. That’s what he’s done extremely well all year long. He’s our engine, he’s a fighter, he’s tough, he’s smart. He’ll figure it out.’’

The Hawks have frustrated Randle with changing coverages, a variety of defenders, and frequent double and triple teams. He hasn’t been able to get comfortable in the point forward role he has played all season, and the Knicks don’t have a dependable guard to run their offense.

“It’s been a team effort,’’ said Hawks guard Kevin Huerter. “He’s the head of the snake. When the team is playing at its best, he’s playing at its best. He’s making shots and creating for everyone else. We wanted to make it as tough as we could on him. We’ve thrown different guys at him. Defensively, it’s feel like every possession someone else gets a crack at him. We’re just trying to show help when we can and force him into tough shots.’’

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Derrick Rose is expected to remain the starting point guard for Game 4, Berman states in a separate story. Rose scored 30 points in 38 minutes Friday as former starter Elfrid Payton wasn’t used at all. Thibodeau admits it was difficult to break the news of the demotion to Payton. “You always have to do what you feel is best for your team,’’ he said. “Sometimes it’s matchups. Elfrid’s a critical part of the team. He’s had a very good year for us. It’s just also, like, what we’re looking at, and what we think gives us our best chance right now.”
  • Thibodeau made another lineup change in Game 3, Berman adds, starting Taj Gibson at center in place of Nerlens Noel, who has been dealing with an ankle that he “tweaked” in the series opener. Noel excelled in the reserve role, with 12 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. “It doesn’t matter, whatever Thibs wants me to do — come off the bench, play five minutes,” Gibson said. “Doesn’t matter. We got to find a way to come out with a ‘W.’”
  • The Knicks need more production from RJ Barrett, points out Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Barrett is shooting 13 of 38 in the first three games and is regularly missing open jumpers. “I see it,” he said. “I’m open. I just got to make it.”

Knicks Notes: Rose, Gibson, Payton, Second-Round Tickets

Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau may finally get to enjoy the playoff success that they should have had together in Chicago, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Rose’s career was upended by injuries after his MVP season in 2010/11, and the Bulls fired Thibodeau four years later. Now they’re trying to give the Knicks their first postseason series win since 2013.

New York was able to acquire Rose for a bargain price in February, sending little-used Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick to the Pistons in return. There were concerns that Rose might get in the way of the team’s rebuilding process, but he has led them to the playoffs as an explosive scorer and a valuable veteran presence. He helped turn around Wednesday’s Game 2 win over the Hawks, coming off the bench to score 26 points in 39 minutes.

“One thing about Derrick I’ve noticed, when he’s in a familiar situation, in a situation that he’s comfortable in, he understands it’s family, he understands that it’s a good environment, a winning environment, he’s going to flourish,” said Taj Gibson, who was also with Rose and Thibodeau in Chicago. “And right now he’s around familiar faces he’s been in battle with for a long time.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Gibson, who wasn’t on an NBA roster when the season began, could be the Knicks’ starting center for tonight’s Game 3, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. The team considered bringing Gibson to training camp, but opted to go with Omari Spellman instead. Spellman earned a roster spot, but when he was sidelined by a sore knee in early January, the Knicks waived him and added Gibson. The veteran big man played an important role in Game 2 while Nerlens Noel was limited by a sprained ankle, and he could be given a starting role if Noel isn’t ready tonight.
  • Elfrid Payton‘s playoff future appears to be in doubt after playing just five minutes Wednesday, notes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Payton remained in his starting role, but he never re-entered the game after being pulled for Rose midway through the first quarter.
  • The Knicks announced this morning that tickets for a possible second-round playoff series will only be sold to vaccinated fans, Berman adds in a separate story. The team wants to fill Madison Square Garden to its capacity of 19,040, which means no socially distanced seating will be offered.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Rose, Simmons, Kyrie, Tatum

The Knicks evened their first-round series at one game apiece with a win over Atlanta on Wednesday night. And, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv writes, two midseason acquisitions whom head coach Tom Thibodeau pushed to add played key roles in that victory. Derrick Rose scored a team-high 26 points in 39 minutes off the bench, while Taj Gibson was a game-best plus-23 in his 30 minutes.

Rose, who was acquired via trade, and Gibson, a free agent signing, both played for Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota before reuniting with him in New York. As Begley observes, they’re the veterans Thibodeau trusts the most, and the Knicks’ head coach didn’t sound surprised that giving them big minutes helped turn the tide in Game 2.

“I just wanted to change it up,” Thibodeau said of putting Rose and Gibson in the Knicks’ lineup to start the third quarter. “I thought we had to do something different and that’s why you have a bench. Those guys came in and played great.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Although Elfrid Payton technically started Wednesday’s game, it’s clear that Rose will be the point guard the Knicks rely on in this series, writes Paul Schwartz of The New York Post. Rose said he felt good after logging 39 minutes, while Payton was a minus-7 in his five minutes and didn’t play after the first quarter.
  • After receiving some criticism in Philadelphia for putting up just six points (to go along with 15 rebounds and 15 assists) in the Sixers‘ Game 1 win, Ben Simmons scored 22 points on Wednesday and addressed that negative feedback after the game. “I’m not trying to stick to anybody in Philly,” Simmons said, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “I thought it was pretty hard to get 15 assists and 15 rebounds in the NBA in the playoffs. I thought that was pretty impressive. And we won. What y’all want? You want to win? For me, I’m here to win and I’m doing what I need to do to help my team win, whatever it is. I’m not trying to prove anybody wrong or anything like that. I’m trying to do my job to win.”
  • As the Celtics/Nets series shifts from Brooklyn to Boston, former Celtic Kyrie Irving said he expects to hear plenty of jeers from the crowd, but hopes that C’s fans “keep it strictly basketball,” per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “(Hopefully) there’s no belligerence or racism going on — subtle racism — people yelling s–t from the crowd, but even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game and we’re just going to focus on what we can control,” Irving said.
  • During an appearance on Zolak & Bertrand on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston (audio link), Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he thinks there’s a good chance Jayson Tatum will play in Game 3 after suffering an eye injury on Tuesday. “The last I heard was that he was doing better and that Friday looks probable,” Stevens said.