If you’re a New York Knicks fan that’s still trying to come to terms with Obi Toppin being traded, the forward has officially been a Pacer for a few days now. He’s already rocked a yellow Pacers shirt while conducting an introductory Zoom call.
It’s odd to think about Toppin no longer playing for the Knicks. Writing “former Knicks forward” doesn’t feel right. Although the trade was a move that was very much expected, Toppin’s departure has been made even more bittersweet because he wasn’t able to put his full talents on display while in New York.
Knicks fans were infuriated to learn that the former lottery pick was traded for only two second-round picks. The actuality is that New York drafted Toppin in 2020 without knowing that Julius Randle would have a breakout 2020-21 season. When you couple that with Tom Thibodeau’s reluctance to play to Toppin’s strengths during the time that he was on the floor, the 25-year-old being traded and having a new opportunity elsewhere makes sense.
Toppin’s still in the Eastern Conference and is now teammates with Tyrese Haliburton and NBA champion Bruce Brown. Indiana has already made a series of moves this summer to improve its roster, so not only is Toppin getting a fresh start, but he’s joining a pretty solid team. Rather than rag on his three-year stint with the Knicks, Obi is focused on what’s to come.
Obi Toppin reflects on New York Knicks tenure with positive mindset
Obi Toppin didn’t go public about his reported frustrations with his limited role while he was with the Knicks, so it isn’t surprising that he didn’t take a shot at New York when reflecting on the three years that he spent there. He said that “everybody was amazing” in NYC. If you thought that he was going to take a shot at Tom Thibodeau, think again.
Even when Toppin was asked about his leaked altercation with Thibodeau during the playoffs, he touched on leaving the past in the past and looking ahead to the future.
"“I’m not really worried about the past anymore, thinking about that,” he said. “All I’m worried about is this new start, fresh start, and I can’t wait to get out there.”"
The trade has already been made. There isn’t a reason for Toppin to talk down on the organization that drafted him. His goal clearly isn’t to get back at the Knicks, but he’ll have the opportunity to show New York what it missed out on when he suits up for Indiana. He and Tyrese Haliburton in transition will be a highlight reel.
The Obi Toppin era is over. He could return to New York sometime down the line, but for now, he’s getting a much-needed fresh start in Indiana. Knicks fans certainly won’t be rooting for the Pacers, but they’ll be rooting for Obi.