After declining his option in order to build out their roster with as much flexibility as possible, it looks like the Knicks are bringing Taj Gibson back to the team.
New York has struggled to find rest for Julius Randle and installing someone who knows very specifically what will be required of him like Gibson should be able to help bolster the rotation. Obviously Taj won’t be coming to New York to supplant Randle, Mitchell Robinson or Nerlens Noel but to be insurance for them due to fatigue, injury or foul trouble.
Last season Taj had good synergy on pick and rolls and was a helpful defensive quarterback, but he clearly lost a little of his lift and with it, some of his touch around the rim and ability to snag bounds.
Nevertheless the 35-year-old, Fort Greene meanie should help rear what is still a very young squad. Gives them a practice body and a potential back of rotation helper. Ian Begley reported that he was a solid mentor for Mitchell Robinson, and the on court presence of a respected vet should only continue to foster that process.
The Knicks will have to cut someone to make it happen. As much as I’d like them to trade Dennis Smith Jr. for basically anything and make room that way, it’s much more likely that Omari Spellman’s days are numbered. Taj of course could be a good mentor for Spellman as well but he is looking like the odd man out.
If Brock Aller is who we think he is, DSJ for a couple second rounders is in the works and that’s the only thing holding up Taj’s re-entry. With so much depth in the backcourt, balancing the scales that way just makes sense. However with Spellman unable to get off the bench even when he’s healthy, maybe it’s best to go realized skill over perceived ability and just trim the fat that you can’t chew anyway.