Wizards Cut Taj Gibson, Xavier Cooks

The Wizards have waived Taj Gibson and forward Xavier Cooks, reducing the roster from 17 players on standard contracts to 15, as was revealed in the release of the opening night roster.Taj Gibson

Due to having two extra players on standard contracts owed fully guaranteed salaries for the 2023-24 season, the Wizards were faced with this anticipated roster crunch. That is to say, this move by the team was no surprise as Gibson and Cooks were the two expected candidates to get cut, since neither of their contracts included guaranteed money beyond this season.

Gibson, 38, 6-foot-9, has played 14 seasons in the NBA, as a player for the Bulls, Wizards, Thunder, Knicks, and Timberwolves. Over 945 regular season games, Gibson has a career average of 8.7 points (51.8% FG), 5.9 rebounds, and 1 block in 23.8 minutes per contest. Gibson’s longest tenure came with playing seven and a half seasons in Chicago, in which he appeared in 56 playoff games for the Bulls. If Gibson finds himself on another team this season, he will be the fourth-oldest active NBA player, behind Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, and LeBron James.

Cooks, 28, 6-foot-8, has spent the last four seasons playing in the NBL (National Basketball League) in Australia, averaging 13 points (55% FG), 8.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game for the Sydney Kings.

After Cooks helped the Kings win an NBL title earlier this year, the Wizards signed the forward to a four-year contract in March. At the end of last season, Cooks appeared in 10 games for the Wizards, in which he averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game. To note, Cooks’ contract included two guaranteed seasons, which means his $1.7 million salary will remain on the Wizards’ books for 2023-24, but the team won’t have to pay him for the next two seasons. 

The Wizards finished as the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference last season, but have a new roster full of young talent heading into the 2023-24 season. Led by Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma, the Wizards look forward to improving off of last year’s 35-47 record as they tip off their season vs. the Indiana Pacers on October 25.

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