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Former Knicks big man Taj Gibson could add a veteran presence to the team

The Brooklyn-born Gibson was a local crowd favorite in his two seasons in New York

New York Knicks v Denver Nuggets Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

One name still available in the NBA free agency market is a player Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau knows well: Taj Gibson.

The two have been together a lot over their respective coaching and playing careers. Thibodeau coached Gibson on the Chicago Bulls from 2010-2015, then for a few years on the Minnesota Timberwolves, before once again linking up in New York for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

Thibodeau has a lot of trust and respect for Gibson and back in 2015, he had this to say about the then-Chicago Bulls center:

“Taj, he probably doesn't get enough credit for what he does for our team. He’s one of those guys, you know everyone talks about having a warrior mentality. Well, Taj does. He’s got a lot of toughness.”

Now at 38 years old, Gibsons’ best playing days are behind him. Last season for the Washington Wizards, he averaged nearly ten minutes per game in 49 games.

Bringing Gibson back to New York would be more for his veteran presence than his play. The 14-year vet offers a quiet but fiery calmness that can really help a Knicks team in dire situations. As mentioned before, he and Thibodeau have been through a lot together. Gibson could help bridge the gap between player and coach and be the perfect middleman, keeping everyone communicating and engaging.

Gibson also had some fun against the Knicks last season when he knocked down a career-high four three-pointers:

The vet can still play situationally and we’ve seen current Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson be prone to injuries throughout his career. Bringing along a player like Gibson who can occasionally give you a solid 10-15 minutes is never a bad thing.

Speaking of Mitchell Robinson, he spoke highly of Taj Gibson back in January 2021, calling him “my guy”. Gibson can still teach Robinson a thing or two. It’s not a coincidence his fouls went from 3.3 and 3.2 per game in his first two years, to 2.8, 2.7, 2.7 in the three years Gibson was on the Knicks. Having the right people who have been playing this game for a long time show you the ropes can be incredibly valuable.

A well-respected locker room guy that can still play at times if needed, New York should open their arms to welcome back the Brooklyn-born Taj Gibson.

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