With the 2021 NBA Draft just weeks away, the league-wide rumor mill is hard at work, and the New York Knicks have found themselves at the center of almost any and every storyline.
Can they pull off a blockbuster deal for disgruntled star Damian Lillard?
If not, how about Collin Sexton?
And at the draft will they use both of their picks, or none of their picks?
How high up can a package including the 19th and 21st picks get them?
Fans are bracing for a Knicks offseason that could lead anywhere, and lead anyone onto or off of the team’s roster come opening night in the fall.
One name that’s been mentioned as a potential trade piece for New York in recent weeks is that of Obi Toppin.
Despite his impressive flashes towards the end of the season and in their first-round series loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the former lottery pick’s future with the Knicks is a lot less clear than this time last year.
But according to a recent report, a split between the New York Knicks and Obi Toppin may be an amicable one on both sides.
Berman: Toppin ‘Wouldn’t Mind’ Being Traded
The rumored package would see the Cleveland Cavaliers land the 19th overall pick, Kevin Knox, and Obi Toppin in exchange for the third-year guard.
Are the Knicks ready to part ways with the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft already? He flashed real potential at the end of the season and in the playoffs.
Berman insinuates that as it stands today, Toppin himself “wouldn’t mind” being relocated after an one year in New York:
The feeling around the league is both Sexton and Toppin wouldn’t mind changing places. Sexton is in an awkward backcourt tandem with young playmaker Darius Garland, who is a replacement on the U.S. Olympic team during exhibitions.
When the Knicks drafted the Dayton product at eighth overall, they weren’t counting on Julius Randle making the leap from role player to All-NBA.
It resulted in Toppin averaging just 11 minutes per game over the season, and inconsistency overall in his rookie year.
But as long as Randle is still in New York, and it looks like he’ll be there for a while, it’s hard to see a role forming for the 23-year old anytime soon.
Randle’s Future Isn’t Yet Confirmed
For the New York Knicks to deal Obi Toppin in any trade for a point guard, they’d have to feel somewhat confident that extension talks with Julius Randle will result in a longterm contract.
His salary for the 2021-2022 season is non-guaranteed, north of $21-million.
No decision in the history of mankind has ever been easier than the New York Knicks guaranteeing the last year of his contract.
But that represents just the first of a hefty offseason agenda, of which Randle takes up the first two bullets.
Once his salary for next season is guaranteed, the Knicks are expected to engage him in talks for an extension.
New York can offer the first-year All-Star a four-year deal worth upwards of $104-million as it stands today.
But it’s unclear how Randle and his camp will approach those negotiations.
As is the case with Chicago Bulls’ guard Zach LaVine, he could simply hold out, if he and those close to him think the same number (or more likely, a larger one) will be on the table next summer.
Some think that to be a dangerous mindset, given the nearly unprecedented nature of his improvement this year.
Regardless, it will be entirely up to Julius Randle as to whether or not he lands a new deal this offseason.
Because after a year like the one he’s had with the New York Knicks, there’s little to discuss in regards to whether or not they should keep him around in both the immediate future and long term.
A trade involving Obi Toppin would certainly provide some insight on how the front office plans to proceed.