The Knicks didn’t land their top targets in free agency, but the players they did sign are determined to turn things around in New York, Taj Gibson tells Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Camp is still a month away, but Gibson said many of the players have been training together and staying in touch through an email chain.
“Everybody’s in the group chat, everybody’s talking, everybody’s getting together to work out together,” Gibson said. “The eagerness in guys (has stood out), guys are committed, guys are going to let the work show for itself.”
A rebuilding situation may seem odd for Gibson, considering his veteran status and history of being with winning teams. The 34-year-old has made the playoffs eight times during his 10 NBA seasons, although he missed last year with the Timberwolves despite a typically solid season in which he averaged 10.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 70 games.
However, Gibson was born in Brooklyn and still feels a strong connection to the area.
“I just always had it in the back of my mind, it was always one of those places I wanted to go,” he said. “I wasn’t scared of the opportunity. I was waiting for the right opportunity (to come here). I just jumped on it. I know they’ve had a lot of tough years, but when you win games, the city loves you. I’m looking forward trying to compete and playing hard.”
Gibson was one of several free agents the Knicks signed to short-term deals after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were off the board. Although Gibson has a two-year, $20MM contract, the second season only carries a $1MM guarantee. Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock all received similar deals.
It’s a situation that could lead to massive turnover next summer, or perhaps even sooner as all the new players may be attractive to contenders at the trade deadline. For now, Gibson wants to enjoy the experience of playing in New York.
“It’s a dream come true and it’s a blessing, because I grew up a Knicks fan,” he said. “To be back home around my people, it’s amazing.”