Julius Randle’s future with the New York Knicks has been a mystery since the completion of the 2021-22 season. He closed the year by claiming he wanted to stay in New York, and many fans will be disappointed if he’s still on the roster in 2022-23. But Obi Toppin’s future is a more vital matter of discussion.
Regardless of what Randle has stated publicly, there is still a chance that he will deal. He wouldn’t talk about it with the public if he had the slightest desire to leave the New York Knicks.
However, if Toppin is still in New York’s starting lineup in October, it will be terrible news. If Randle deals, the No. 8 overall selection in 2020 should have a shot to start, but that depends on the Knicks’ subsequent moves after Randle’s departure.
Toppin was selected months before Randle’s All-NBA and All-Star season in 2020-21. Randle agreed to a four-year, $117 million agreement with the New York Knicks last summer. Although it considers a positive development, it has since turned into a nightmare.
There’s still a potential that Randle has a breakout season with the Knicks next season, but it wouldn’t be to Toppin’s advantage. Why? Because he’d be on the sidelines for the majority of it.
If the New York Knicks do not deal with Julius Randle, what will happen to Obi Toppin?
Fans are upset about the possibility of Toppin moves from New York this summer. And it’s easy to see why. The 24-year-old has the potential to be an NBA starter, and his development in 2021-22, particularly at the end of the year when Randle hurt, was spectacular.
He scored a career-high 42 points the last time he appeared in a game for the New York Knicks. He had scored 35 the night before. Toppin made six 3-pointers in each contest, demonstrating that he has improved his outside shooting.
With all of that stated, it’s simple to see why people want him to stay in his hometown.
But what if he could receive regular playing time somewhere else? What if he could start for another team regularly? Is it worth putting his on-court growth on wait to keep him in New York?
It isn’t a case for the New York Knicks to move Toppin, but after seeing them play last year, it’s evident that he could’ve played a more significant role. If Randle remains and his contract makes trading impossible, even if that’s what he wants, Toppin will be on hold.
Tom Thibodeau may work closely with the younger guys, but it isn’t easy to see a scenario in which he’d choose Toppin above Randle.
And it won’t look good for New York if Toppin moves to a successful club and Randle has another season like the one he just had. Whatever the front office chooses on Toppin, they must prepare to deal with the consequences.