Knicks Linked to Disgruntled Forward as Potential Obi Toppin Replacement

obi toppin

Getty Obi Toppin will be back soon.

The New York Knicks rattled off an eight game winning streak only to follow it up with a three game losing streak, so it’s tough to gauge exactly where this time stands in the grand scheme of things.

They currently hold the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, a spot that hardly anybody believed they’d be able to reach, so it would make sense for the Knicks to add some pieces to help them stay there.

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder is somebody who has seen a lot of success in their career as a role player, but he hasn’t suited up for the Suns at all this season as he seeks a trade.

So far, Phoenix has shown they are willing to patient with moving him, especially considering he’s not a player who would bring a huge haul back in exchange for him. This is what would make him a perfect candidate for the Knicks, and SNY’s David Vertsberger makes the case for New York to go after him.

Knicks to Target Crowder?

The 32-year old forward is making $10.1 million this season, so he’s far from an unmovable contract, and that’s what makes him an ideal candidate to be traded at the deadline.

He’s been a role player for all of his career, but he’s had a big impact in a variety of his stops, including his most recent ones in Miami and Phoenix. There’s not a crystal clear reason on why he wants a trade, but it is known he’d be a good fit with a plethora of teams around the league, including the Knicks. He’s been getting better at shooting from deep over his career, and he can play solid defense, making him a nice 3-and-D guy to have on the team.

“That kind of skillset and experience should be valuable to the Knicks, now in the thick of the East playoff race,” Vertsberger wrote. “After cutting their rotation down, they only have Quentin Grimes and RJ Barrett available to guard the bigger, elite wings in the league. Crowder won’t shut anybody down, but provides an added body that’s used to the Knicks’ bully-ball brand and helps cover one of their weaknesses.”

What makes this move make even more sense if the perceived lower price that Crowder comes with. It’s tough to trade for somebody you haven’t even see play all season, and we saw that backfire for the Brooklyn Nets and Ben Simmons just last season. However, Crowder has a much smaller contract and he won’t take as much to acquire.

“New York can send Phoenix some salary filler and maybe a couple second-round picks in order to improve its depth, and maybe find a better option at the backup four than Obi Toppin,” Vertsberger said.

Toppin is likely out for the rest of December with a knee injury, but his timetable of 2-3 weeks should be up shortly after. In the meantime, Crowder would be able to fill in as the backup power forward until he returns, and then coach Tom Thibodeau would have to make a decision. Crowder also has the flexibility to play at the small forward spot, so it’s not like he’d have to be removed from the rotation once Toppin returns.

Teams Are Wary of Crowder

Coming into the season, it seemed like Crowder would be a player that many teams could use on their roster, but trading him seems like it’s been tougher than expected.

Despite his talent, the forward does bounce around from team to team quite often, and his latest stop in Phoenix has ended in perhaps the worst way possible with him wanting out before his contract is up.

An NBA general manager speaking to Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett blasted Crowder over his decision to sit out.

“He just didn’t show up,” the GM said. “He said he’s not playing unless he gets a contract extension that he wants. I think a lot of teams are turned off by that in and of itself. Like, ‘What? You don’t want to play for one of the best teams in the NBA and prove that you’re worth it so you can get a contract next year? Like, you’re not that good, bro. What are you doing?’ It’s a weird dynamic. It’s one thing if Kevin Durant’s holding out because he’s not getting paid enough, but Jae Crowder? Seriously?”

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