LAS VEGAS — With Thomas Bryant heading back to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Washington Wizards plan to fill the hole in their frontcourt with Taj Gibson. The 37-year-old landed a one-year contract with Washington after being let go by the New York Knicks, according to a Sunday tweet from his agency, Priority Sports.
Representatives from the Wizards — many of whom were sitting courtside for the team’s Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns — declined to comment because Gibson is traveling and had not yet signed the deal. The Athletic first reported the move.
Gibson’s contract falls in line with Washington’s complementary additions to Bradley Beal’s five-year, $251 million deal this offseason. The Wizards are expected to bring in the 6-foot-9 Gibson using the minimum salary exception, meaning only about $1.8 million of Gibson’s approximately $2.9 million salary will count against the salary cap. For that, the Wizards get a knowledgeable big man to slot behind Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford.
Gafford, a fourth-year center, may benefit from Gibson’s experience the most. Gafford long has focused on consistency and the mental aspect of the game as areas where he would like to improve; Gibson is heading into his 14th year in the NBA after Chicago drafted him 26th in 2009. He has played for the Bulls, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Knicks; he averaged 4.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18.2 minutes for New York last season.
He joins point guard Monte Morris, wing Will Barton and guard Delon Wright as the Wizards’ offseason acquisitions. The team plans to introduce its other three newcomers at news conferences this week.
Summer league win
Vernon Carey Jr. had 15 points and 11 rebounds to help the Wizards roll to a 97-72 victory over the Suns.
Jaime Echenique added 12 points and Tyler Hall and first-round pick Johnny Davis contributed 11 points apiece for the Wizards. Echenique pulled down six rebounds, and Devon Dotson finished with a game-high six assists.
Tyson Carter led the Suns with 12 points.