The Knicks are in trade talks with a conference rival for Obi Toppin

The New York Knicks have frequently found themselves intertwined within the league’s trade rumor mill, with reports surfacing left and right suggesting that the organization is jonesing for any semblance of a splashy shakeup to their current talent pool.

The Knicks are negotiating a trade with a conference rival for Obi Toppin

The Knicks are negotiating a trade with a conference rival for Obi Toppin

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Though nothing notable has occurred for the ball club in relation to this particular venture, recent rumblings suggest that Leon Rose and company are still making moves behind the scenes.

An anonymous Eastern Conference executive has informed Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney that the Knicks are in talks with the Indiana Pacers about a potential trade that would send third-year big man Obi Toppin to the Hoosier State, and the 24-year-old could shine brightly in this particular setting, according to the exec.

“There has been some talk between the Pacers and Knicks about Obi (Toppin). He fits in Indiana, especially if they keep Turner. Obi is a rim-runner, he has some toughness, he has athleticism. He needs minutes and a team that is rebuilding with young talent like Indy is a really good match,” the exec told Deveney.

The executive would go on to say that Indiana has some extra first-round picks that could be available in this year’s NBA Draft, which, given the fact that the Knicks are stockpiling picks, could bode well for a potential deal to be executed.

While they did not specify how far these discussions have progressed, there is a strong case to be made that a rebuilding team like the Pacers could be an ideal landing spot for the young talent, as they can provide one major luxury that New York, as it currently stands, cannot: ample playing time.

With more playing time, Knicks big man can become a star

Obi Toppin has struggled to find consistent playing time in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation since being selected eighth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The presence of the franchise’s 28-year-old former All-Star Julius Randle, who serves as the team’s starting power forward, the same position as the former lottery pick, is the main roadblock between Toppin and ample playing time in New York.

Given how well the ninth-year veteran has performed for the Knicks thus far this season, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the two parties will part ways anytime soon, which means Toppin will continue to struggle to find an increase in minutes upon his return to the hardwood and beyond.

However, on a team like Indiana, the young stud would almost certainly have an easier time carving out a large role for himself within the rotation, and would almost certainly be found serving as a regular within the team’s starting lineup, where he has only proven to shine throughout his career.

Toppin has put up tremendous numbers when slotted into the first five throughout his career, averaging 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and just shy of a block on 57% shooting from the floor and 43.6% shooting from deep.

Unfortunately, as the season progresses, it’s becoming clear that as long as Randle is in tow, Obi Toppin will continue to be underutilized and, as a result, may fall short of living up to his lottery-selected status.

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The Knicks are a strong match for former MVP

If the Knicks decide to trade Julius Randle this offseason, one Western Conference GM told Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney that the Milwaukee Bucks would be an ideal landing spot for the former All-NBA forward.

“He might fit well with a team like Milwaukee that has multiple options, multiple pretty good options,” the general manager told Deveney.

The executive would go on to explain why Randle could be a valuable addition to the 2021 NBA Champions, stating that of all the stars with whom he could form a new tandem, his skill set could arguably complement All-World talent Giannis Antetokounmpo the most.

“Giannis is one who comes to mind because of the way he cuts and makes himself available and can play off other passers,” the exec told Deveney. “I am not saying that Milwaukee is beating down the doors to get Julius Randle, but that is the kind of star who could work well with a player with Randle’s skill.”

The executive would tell Deveney that Randle “could be easier to move” now that he appears to have put his inefficient 2021-22 season behind him, as he’s producing at an extremely high level through 35 games this season, averaging 23.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 47.0% shooting from the field.