New York Knicks fans will have to wait several months to see a beloved former player return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since being traded.
At the beginning of July, the Knicks did what everyone had been waiting for and traded Obi Toppin to the Pacers. Indiana only had to give up two second-round picks for the 2020 lottery pick, a steal of a price for a player who wasn’t fully unlocked in New York. The Toppin trade looked like a bargain for the Pacers as soon as the deal was reported, but it has the potential to look even better as time goes on.
Indiana is expected to make some noise in the Eastern Conference this season. Tyrese Haliburton signed a five-year, $260 million max extension with the Pacers this summer. Indiana added Toppin and made a huge splash in free agency by signing 2023 NBA champion Bruce Brown to a two-year, $45 million deal.
New York will face Indiana for the first time in the 2023-24 season on Dec. 30 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. It’ll be the final contest of a three-game road trip for the Knicks, including previous stops in Oklahoma City and Orlando. By the end of December, Toppin will have already captured the hearts of the Pacers fanbase.
Obi Toppin will make his first return to MSG since being traded by Knicks on Feb. 1
A little over three months after the 2023-24 regular season begins, Obi Toppin and the Pacers will visit the Knicks for the first time on Thursday, Feb. 1.
By then, New York fans should be used to seeing Toppin in an Indiana jersey. However, seeing him be a visitor at the Garden will be a lot different in person. Not only will Toppin likely receive a standing ovation from the video tribute, but Knicks fans will rise to their feet again as soon as he takes the court for the first time. It doesn’t matter that he’s on a new team, as he still means a lot to the fanbase and city of New York.
After Feb. 1, Toppin and the Pacers will be right back at MSG on Saturday, Feb. 10, in the two teams’ last meet-up of the regular season. Go ahead and mark your calendars, Knicks fans. The New York native will surely put on a show in both games at the beginning of February.