Report: Knicks, Jazz discuss Obi Toppin trade

Obi Toppin, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks and the Utah Jazz are on the negotiation table again.

This time for a minor trade talk involving former lottery pick Obi Toppin.

The Knicks and the Jazz have had exploratory discussions surrounding Toppin, Evan Fournier, and a future draft pick for Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, according to HoopsHype’s Mike Scotto.

“Utah is seeking the equivalent of a first-round pick to acquire each player. In these particular trade talks, Toppin would potentially be that equivalent for Vanderbilt with Utah seeking a potential first-round pick for taking on Fournier’s salary ($18.86 million next season and $19 million team option for 2024-25) and parting with Beasley, who has a $16.5 million team option for next season. Thus far, New York has been reluctant to attach a first-round pick to move off Fournier’s salary.”

Mike Scotto via HoopsHype

Toppin is extension-eligible this summer, but the 2020 No. 8 pick has no pathway to significant minutes with the Knicks behind two-time All-Star forward Julius Randle. Toppin’s playing time was further reduced to 11.9 minutes per game since his return from a knee injury, averaging 4.9 points and 2.4 rebounds. But he’s shot 43.3 percent from downtown in his limited time on the court.

On the other hand, Fournier has fallen out of the regular rotation in favor of younger and better perimeter defenders in second-year players Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride.

Vanderbilt, the 41st pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, had grown from an energy guy into a defensive lynchpin, while Beasley had drawn Knicks’ interest in the 2020 free agency before he re-signed with his former team, Minnesota Timberwolves. Both players were part of the Rudy Gobert haul which the Jazz wanted to flip as they rebuild around first-time All-Star Lauri Markkanen.

Vanderbilt and Beasley have a strong link to Knicks senior basketball advisor Gerrson Rosas, who traded for both players during his time as the Timberwolves’ president.

The sticking point remains the additional first-round draft compensation the Jazz are asking for to absorb Fournier’s remaining guaranteed money. Fournier is owed around $36 million guaranteed money until next season before his contract essentially becomes expiring with the $19 million team option in the final year (2024-25).

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