There were multiple different players that the Pacers were said to be interested in, including both OG Anunoby and Obi Toppin. And while the offer for OG Anunoby has been made public by Zach Lowe, it appears that New York may have taken a similar stance on Obi Toppin.
The day of the trade deadline, New York Knicks insider Ian Begley reported that the Knicks were wanting significant draft pick package for Obi Toppin per one of the teams interested. This seemed like an oddity at the time given that the New York Knicks seem intent on not giving Toppin the time he needs to develop.
While it is still not clear the exact package that New York was looking for, the words “significant draft picks” seems to imply that they would want more than just one of the late first rounders that the Pacers may have been offering.
If this is the case, the Pacers did right by not overbidding on Toppin.
If they want to go after him after the season, it looks like New York may not be extending him after all. Which is why the high asking price seems to make little sense to begin with.
While Toppin certainly would fit well with the timeline and needs of the current Pacers team as constructed, he isn’t the type of player that would significantly move the needle for title contention for a team like the Pacers. Thus, offering multiple first round picks probably would be a major mistake, given he can’t seem to find playing time on the team he currently is on.
So New York will continue to be the franchise that continues to put their foot in their mouth. Never having a long-term plan that materializes and always having a confusing/fuzzy short term plan.
Being a small market team, the Pacers must be judicious with the picks that they have and build through the draft. And giving up significant amounts of that future for a high-ceiling role player would have been a major mistake.
Hats off to the Pacers for having constraint.