Tom Thibodeau’s favorite, Taj Gibson, is back to fortify the Knicks’ big man rotation while Mitchell Robinson recovers from surgery.

Former New York Knicks center Taj Gibson has signed a one-year deal to return to the club, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Gibson returns after not signing with a team at all so far this season, most recently playing with the Washington Wizards last year.

Gibson, a favorite of head coach Tom Thibodeau during his coaching tenure with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, and now Knicks, averaged 18.2 minutes per game back in 2021-22 for New York. In that time, he scored 4.4 points per game while grabbing 4.4 rebounds per game. He was a steady veteran presence for players like RJ Barrett during his time with the Knicks, and will be arriving to a team facing a long-term injury to starting center Mitchell Robinson, who will be re-evaluated in 8-10 weeks after getting an ankle surgery done earlier this week.

Gibson can provide a player-coach vibe to a team that isn’t exactly rudderless, but one that has struggled to mesh on defense in recent games and has since dropped several games to top-tier Eastern Conference teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. Over their last three games, the Knicks have a defensive rating of 136.3, good for last in the league over that stretch. Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein, the two other centers on the Knicks’ roster, shouldn’t feel threatened by Gibson’s arrival just yet as they look to have the trust of Thibodeau after playing a solid 48 minutes together on Monday during New York’s win over the Toronto Raptors, the team’s first game without Robinson available.

To make way for Gibson, the Knicks also announced they waived Dylan Windler. Windler, who never cracked the rotation, never had a guaranteed contract with the team and had been spending his time in Westchester with the team’s G-League squad instead.

It’s unclear when Gibson will be with the team, but they begin a four-game West Coast trip tonight against the Utah Jazz at 9 pm EST.

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