Thursday, September 22, 2022

Things Could Get Ugly Between Knicks and Obi Toppin: Report

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In his third season with the New York Knicks, staunch supporters of the franchise are hoping for a bigger role and more minutes for 24-year-old big man Obi Toppin in 2022-23.

However, with Julius Randle still on the list, many believe that despite the pleas and requests of the fan base, it can be difficult when both start in the same position and see a significant increase in playing time around for the former eighth overall winner to come by

Given that harsh reality and with Toppin nearing renewal eligibility, an anonymous NBA general manager Sean Deveney told Heavy.com it could prove quite problematic for both him and the front office when it comes on the time is to enter the negotiation phase.

“You can only play him as long as Randle is there, it’s really difficult to get those two guys down at the same time. They’re also making a renewal decision for him for next summer and that’s going to be complicated,” the executive told Deveney.

The general manager would go on to state that if Toppin manages to show significant improvements in his game while serving in a role similar to last season, he may be inclined to have greener pastures at liberty Looking for.

“If Toppin builds on his progress but still doesn’t get minutes next season and goes into extra summer, this situation could get ugly. Obi will want to get paid, but the Knicks won’t be able to.”

With the first year of Randle’s $117 million four-year extension beginning this season, if Toppin were to sign his own new deal, assuming the 2021 All-Star goes untraded, he almost certainly would continue to have trouble finding him a bigger role within the New York rotation.

Should he have a desire to become a central part of a team’s plan, perhaps his best shot at achieving such a goal might be if he eventually parted ways with the Knicks.

Since joining the league in 2020, Obi Toppin has been used predominantly in a reserve role for the New York Knicks.

With his rather low usage, his production per game has resulted in stunning career averages of just 6.7 points and 3.0.

However, as Toppin was given more opportunities within the rotation, he could only increase his level of play along the way, especially when found in the starting lineup.

The third-grader excelled on both the eye test and the numbers in New York’s first-five unit as he holds impressive averages of 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and just under a block on 57% shooting from the ground and 43.6% shooting from depth in such a role.

With Toppin in last season’s starting rotation, the Knicks picked up two of their most one-sided wins of the 2021-22 season by beating the Washington Wizards 114-92 on April 8 and also beating the Orlando Magic 118-88 on April 3.

After signing a new contract extension himself this offseason, fourth-year RJ Barrett recently told KnicksFanTV that he’s been grinding in the gym this offseason and working on aspects of his game that he believes will benefit him and the team could help move forward.

“I’ve been really working on just plugging the dribble, moving the dribble, you know, being able to make shots out of the dribble. And my finishing, you know, I think those two areas, being able to clean those up is going to help me and the team along the way,” Barrett said.

The 24-year-old also noted that one of his goals for this season is to consider a spot on the All-Star team.

“I’m ready to have a conversation. I’m ready to show what I can do,” Barrett said. “Every year I’ve gotten better, so there’s no better time than now.”

Just last season, RJ Barrett saw himself finishing with career bests in numerous statistical categories in 70 games played, averaging 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest.

The 24-year-old also noted that one of his goals for this season is to consider a spot on the All-Star team.

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