Knicks’ chance at draft trade with Pacers dampened by surging Nuggets

If the New York Knicks were hoping to make a trade with the Pacers for a late first-round 2023 NBA Draft pick, that possibility has now taken a hit thanks to the Nuggets. To maximize their championship window, Denver acquired Indiana’s No. 29 and No. 32 picks, meaning that the Pacers now have the No. 7, No. 26, No. 40, and No. 55 picks in the draft.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets gave up their No. 40 pick and a future 2024 first-round pick. The Pacers could make another move leading up to the draft, but that chance has lowered.

Indiana has been listed as a possible landing spot for Toppin for months now, and New York trading into the draft by sending the 25-year-old forward to the Pacers seemed to be the Knicks’ best chance at moving on from Toppin while simultaneously getting a draft pick. New York could still make a trade leading up to or during the draft for a pick, even if it’s a small trade that would net the Knicks a second-rounder.

Pacers make 2023 NBA Draft trade with Nuggets, not New York Knicks

So, what does this mean for Obi Toppin? If the Knicks are still actively trying to trade into the draft, Toppin will likely be part of a deal for several reasons. He reportedly expressed his frustration this past season with his limited role and based on the 14.7 minutes that he’s averaged since being drafted No. 8 overall in 2020, Toppin doesn’t seem to be in New York’s future plans.

Newsday’s Steve Popper reported (subscription required) that the Knicks and Toppin have agreed to find the forward a “change of scenery.” Toppin’s eligible to sign an extension this summer, but so is Immanuel Quickley. And then there’s Josh Hart, who is expected to decline his $12.96 million player option for 2023-24 to become a free agent. Out of those three players, Toppin is the odd man out.

There’s a lot that can happen between now and the end of the draft, so Toppin being traded is still a possibility, especially with all of the smoke that’s been flying around the past couple of days.

Calvin Booth and the Nuggets have more reason to be aggressive than the Knicks, so while many expected to read that New York, not Denver, had made a draft trade with Indiana, it makes sense that at least for the time being, Obi Toppin is still a Knick.