D-Day came Thursday and only swingman Reggie Bullock survived, according to sources.
Among others, the Knicks waived big men Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, declining to exercise their team options. Gibson stood to make $10 million next season and Portis $15 million. The Knicks opened up $40 million in cap space with all of their Thursday moves.
According to sources, Gibson is the strongest candidate to return on a lesser deal, but don’t rule out Portis either.
Gibson was a terrific role model for young center Mitchell Robinson and played for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota. He’s a Brooklyn native and the Knicks will try to see if they can bring him back on a smaller, one-year deal.
Capologist Bobby Marks, in free-agent projections, thought Portis could be had for $4 million per year.
The Knicks have also declined the options of starting point guard Elfrid Payton and Wayne Ellington. Payton is a long shot to return on a lesser deal but GM Scott Perry still has a yen for him and nothing has been ruled out yet. Ellington made $8 million last season and it turned into mostly a waste.
Free agency begins Friday night with the starting point guard position a big need.
The bigger surprise was the Knicks cutting ties with Oregon shot-blocking power forward Kenny Wooten, who was on a two-way deal. Those two-way deals mean more now because under the pandemic CBA, they can play 50 games with the NBA team. Wooten, who played for the Westchester Knicks, never played an NBA game for the Knicks.
Now they have a two-way contract they can offer. Myles Powell of Seton Hall will be invited to training camp but still seems a long shot to make the team.
Bullock’s $4.2 million option was picked up as expected. He’s a “3-and-D” type and a veteran player whom Thibodeau covets. It was a no-brainer. He missed OTAs, as The Post reported, because his girlfriend was giving birth to twin boys.
Damyean Dotson is an unrestricted free agent and is not expected back. The Utah Jazz may have some interest there. The Knicks also declined the option on guard Theo Pinson.