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New, old Knick Taj Gibson has big fan in current, former coach Tom Thibodeau

Taj Gibson, shown here playing for Knicks on

Taj Gibson, shown here playing for Knicks on March 10, 2020, signed a deal to return to the team.  Credit: AP/Luis M. Alvarez

Taj Gibson was still not in uniform with the Knicks Friday night as he waited out the COVID-19 protocol. But Tom Thibodeau, who coached him in Chicago and Minnesota, was excited to have his arrival on tap.

Gibson, who played for the Knicks last season and started 56 games, will need to go through testing and a waiting period, which puts him on target to join the team early next week.

"I think his career speaks for itself and obviously he embodies all the things that we believe in," Thibodeau said. "… Just his conditioning, his leadership, his ability to play, who he is as a person. We’re thrilled he’s back with us.

"It’s invaluable to have that type of leadership, who he is as a person, great teammate, team-first guy, hard-working, always ready. Whatever you ask him to do. You can start him, you can bring him off the bench. Or you can just have him waiting for an opportunity, and he handles all of them great. Talking to the people from last year, he had a very positive impact on Mitch [Robinson] and the rest of his teammates as well. I know everywhere he’s been, that’s been the case."

Westchester back — in the bubble

The Knicks will have their G League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks, as a part of the bubble start to the developmental league season. He indicated that the team could use it for some of their young players who have not been getting minutes.

"The G League is critical," Thibodeau said. "When you have a number of young guys like we do, the practice part is important but also I think the playing time, playing in actual games in that league has been terrific in terms of helping to prepare guys. And sometimes you can look at your schedule where you might have a heavy road schedule where you’re playing a number of games and there’s not going to be a lot of practice involved. If you have a young guy that’s not playing a lot, that’s a good opportunity to send him down for a couple of games, and get some game time experience. There’s nothing like the intensity of a game. And we plan on using it. And I think it will be important for us and for the development of our players."

New York Sports