Knicks finally give Obi Toppin role he deserves by trading him to Pacers

It’s been done. A little over three years after the New York Knicks drafted Obi Toppin with the No. 8 overall draft pick, the 25-year-old was traded to the Pacers for two future second-round picks.

Reports surfaced a couple of weeks ago about Toppin’s frustration with his limited role and his desire for a trade. Many thought that the Knicks would include Toppin in a trade that would give New York a 2023 draft pick, but the front office stayed quiet. Once the draft concluded, the Knicks did sign Toppin’s younger brother to a two-way contract.

Toppin was eligible to sign an extension with New York this offseason, but the chances of that happening were extremely slim. Rather than watch him sign with a new team as a restricted free agent next summer, the Knicks were at least able to get something in return for the forward.

Knicks trade Obi Toppin to Pacers in exchange for two second-round picks

The Pacers cleared up cap space to absorb the $6.8 million that Obi Toppin is owed for 2023-24 by trading Chris Duarte to the Kings on Friday. Knicks fans were hoping to get Duarte in a Toppin trade, but instead, New York added to its draft capital.

Toppin will now get to go compete for the starting power forward position in Indiana, which is an opportunity that he wasn’t going to get in New York. The Pacers acquired No. 8 pick Jarace Walker in the 2023 NBA Draft, so Toppin, a former No. 8 pick, could be Indiana’s new starter.

The Pacers and Tyrese Haliburton agreed to a five-year contract extension that’s worth up to $260 million shortly after midnight on July 1, and now, Haliburton and Toppin will get to put on a show when they’re on the floor together. Myles Turner at the five will help to mask Toppin’s defensive deficiencies.

If there was a team that Toppin should’ve been rooting for a trade to, it was the Pacers. He’s now in the perfect spot to let his talents shine.