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NY Post
New York Post
1 Jul 2023

NextImg:Knicks trading Obi Toppin to Pacers for future draft picks

Obi Toppin’s Knicks career is over, and without him really getting a shot at proving what he could do with a major opportunity.

The Knicks reportedly sent Toppin to the Pacers for future draft picks, ending the Brooklyn native’s underwhelming three seasons here.

The 6-foot-9 Toppin was the first draft pick of the Leon Rose era, the eighth overall selection in the 2020 draft.

He found himself behind All-Star Julius Randle, in a minor role that never expanded.

The move doesn’t come as a major surprise, since Toppin is eligible to sign a rookie-scale extension and the Knicks didn’t appear interested in extending him.

Now, the former National Player of the Year in college basketball, moves on while his younger brother Jacob’s Knicks career is just starting.

The team recently signed the undrafted forward out of Kentucky to a two-way contract.

The 25-year-old Toppin quickly became a fan favorite because of the energy he brought on the second unit with his eye-popping dunks.

Obi Toppin was traded to the Pacers.
Charles Wenzelberg

But he never emerged further, his shortcomings as a defender and shot creator limiting him.

Coach Tom Thibodeau resisted playing Toppin — 2022 NBA Slam Dunk champion — and Randle together, citing the lack of a rim protector as the reason.

He averaged just 14.7 minutes per game over 67 games this past season.

Toppin reportedly got into a shouting match with Thibodeau after he played only six minutes and was benched for the entire second half in Game 4 in Miami.

He had never publicly complained about his role.

While it would be unfair to call Toppin a bust, he was a disappointment.

The Knicks passed on players like Saddiq Bey and Tyrese Haliburton in that draft.

Now Toppin will play with Haliburton in his new home.