The Indiana Pacers are on an upward trajectory despite being in the early stages of their rebuild. And it's all thanks to Tyrese Haliburton's emergence as a franchise cornerstone-level talent. With the Pacers on the rise, it may not be the worst idea in the world to add to their young core, particularly with a gaping hole in their starting power forward spot. Enter the New York Knicks as a potential trade partner for young forward Obi Toppin.
With Julius Randle playing incredibly well as of late, the Knicks' power forward spot appears to be his to lose for the next few years. Thus, the Knicks could dangle backup power forward, Obi Toppin, as trade bait especially as they try to keep up in the competitive Eastern Conference playoff picture. And it seems like the Pacers are interested in swooping in for the 24-year old highflyer despite his current leg injury, per Sean Deveney of Heavy.com via Hoops Wire.
According to Deveney, an unnamed league executive said that the Pacers and Knicks have engaged in trade talks for Obi Toppin, and that the Pacers, among other potential suitors, stand out as a strong fit for the 2022 Slam Dunk contest champion.
“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 said.
Drafted eighth overall in 2020, Obi Toppin hasn't carved out a huge role in the Knicks rotation. In fact, for his career, he has only averaged 14.7 minutes, hampering his development. Thus, the Pacers could definitely provide Toppin with a huge opportunity, especially with Aaron Nesmith currently holding down the fort for them at the four.
Toppin has definitely shown that he can produce when given minutes. The only question now is what it would take for the Knicks to relinquish the third-year forward out of Dayton. The Pacers own the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers' 2023 first round picks, but it's unclear whether they'd be willing to part ways with those assets for a bench forward, his potential notwithstanding.