Over the course of this year’s NBA playoffs, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau phased out his team’s bench.
The move worked against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Knicks taking that series in 5 games behind some strong performances from Jalen Brunson.
In round 2 of the playoffs, the team’s bench players saw even less minutes when the starters were healthy.
Over the last 3 games of that series, Brunson played 44, 48, and 45 minutes.
That was partially out of necessity because the team was without Immanuel Quickley for much of the series.
However, the team had all of their options available down low and even had Julius Randle battling an injury and it still wasn’t enough for one player who had been a solid part of the team’s rotation for much of the year to get real minutes.
Over the last 5 games of the series against the Heat, Obi Toppin played more than 12 minutes just once.
It seems that was something he wasn’t too pleased about.
According to The Athletic’s Fred Katz, Toppin had an intense altercation with Thibodeau following the team’s Game 4 loss.
It’s time for the Knicks to make a decision on where Obi Toppin fits into their future.
Story (which I includes a poll of 15 people who work in front offices about what Toppin could be worth in an extension) on a pivotal offseason for the power forward: https://t.co/JJ9eOvb3ac pic.twitter.com/zK99zI4qGb
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) June 21, 2023
“According to league sources who were present, once the final buzzer sounded Toppin aired his grievances to Thibodeau. The 24-year-old wants to play, and he wants to win. That evening, neither happened. An intense verbal altercation occurred between the player and coach as the group trekked to the Kaseya Center visiting locker room in Miami. It spilled into the postgame meeting once the doors closed.”
That didn’t change much for him over the following two games.
Unfortunately for Toppin, it doesn’t seem like his playing time is going to change much as long as he is with the Knicks.
He is just stuck behind Julius Randle no matter how well he plays.
That has led some to believe that Toppin could be traded this offseason as the Knicks look for another piece to help them get past the 2nd round of the playoffs.
This altercation doesn’t make that any less likely.
Obi Toppin has shown flashes that he can be a solid NBA player, but he’ll need to leave the New York Knicks if he’s ever going to take on a bigger role.