This does not feel good for Raptors fans.
Two-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam is linked to trade rumors across the NBA amidst Summer League action in Vegas. With discussions between both Siakam and the Raptors have become quiet as the silence has widened, the league is now watching for that first domino to fall.
It seems like the majority of fans are waiting for Portland to fulfill Damian Lillard’s trade request, while others are expecting Harden’s to break first. However, it’s now believed that Pascal may be on the move first which shapes the landscape for trades across the league and what the next move for other organizations would look like.
Let’s look at what we know and our front office’s track record. Masai always wants to stay competitive and hasn’t initiated a rebuild of any sort. The head coaching question mark was addressed with the exit of Nick Nurse and Fred’s departure in free agency would suggest enough change for the Raptor’s this off-season.
I firmly believe that Masai will stick with Siakam and not trade him away. Despite speculation of the Raptors’ being ready to hand the keys to Scottie Barnes, I think bringing back a true center and not to mention good friend of Pascal’s in Jakob Poeltl suggests that there won’t be movement with our star forward. The head office will try to run this Raptors’ squad back, with the exception of Fred, new developmental coaching and the addition of new assets acquired in free agency and via the draft.
But, and there’s a big but, there have been no discussions in regards to a max extension for Pascal as he is eligible. One has to ask, with one year remaining in his contract and no extension talks, what are the Raptors waiting for? Pascal has already made it clear that he wants to extend with Toronto, so the Raptors’ head office hesitations has everyone questioning Pascal’s future with the organization.
CANADIAN (Montreal) born player raised in the Dominican Republic.
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I do think everyone needs to relax. Pascal is away for the off-season, spending time with family, so yes, he’s not present right now for the NBA Summer League. Should he be there at a time where team bonding and encouraging the new young players is important? Perhaps, but I don’t blame him for not being in Vegas currently.
That being said, as much as it pains me to do this, one has to look at possible outcomes if Masai and Bobby elect to trade their star.
Here are my 3 trade scenarios that make the most sense if we were to move off the final remaining piece of the Raptors’ championship squad.
1. Indiana Pacers
It has been reported that the Indiana Pacers have reached out to the Raptors for Siakam. This tells me that they feel like they have the pieces in place to make a stronger push for the playoffs, but with what proven track record? They have missed the playoffs since 2020 where they were swept by the Heat in the first round. So what about this squad makes them think that they’re ready to add a player like Siakam who brings championship pedigree?
Don’t get me wrong, the Pacers could really use him as they lack in forward depth, even though they signed Bruce Brown (2 yrs/$45 million) this off season. It’s just a bold acquisition is all.
That being said, it’s the most intriguing situation for the Raptors’ head office as they have all of their first round picks over the next few years with more draft capital to offer.
Player wise, you’d need to look at a deal structured around Buddy Hield ($19.3 million) to take up the bulk of the returning salary. Other players such as Bennedict Mathurin ($6.9 million), Isaiah Jackson ($2.7 million) and Andrew Nembhard ($2.1 million) would be alluring to fill up remaining gaps and bring more youth to the already young Raptors’ squad.
2. Atlanta Hawks
This is the one that annoys me the most. Atlanta seems to have its own set of issues in the locker room revolving around Trae Young so managing this team seems like a nightmare. After trading John Collins and extending Dejounte Murray (4 yrs/$111 million) your only real option for the Raptors is to structure around the 4th overall pick from 2019 draft De’Andre Hunter ($20.8 million).
Although a fine player, acquiring another 6 foot 9 forward to add to the pile for Siakam does not excite me. Other young players to round out the deal would have to include Onyeka Okongwu ($8.1 million) and either AJ Griffin ($3.7 million) or Jalen Johnson ($2.9 million). They also have to offer the Kings 2024 first along with some seconds unless they get rid of their 2029/2030 firsts.
3. New York Knicks
If we have to have Pascal trade discussions, this is one that intrigues me and isn’t being talked about in my findings across Raptors’ fan forums. Enough with trade generators for the Sixers and Blazers, take a look at what could make sense which to me is the Bronx.
The Knicks have been sneakily stashing their assets over the years. They have 8 first round draft picks which they could trade up to half of those. Four of those picks as well are via other teams so it does get interesting.
My initial focus goes directly to Julis Randle ($28.2 million) which would be a significant upgrade at the 4 spot for New York. Younger talent such as Quentin Grimes ($2.4 million) would also be a piece. Could I also interest you in a potential homecoming for the maple mamba himself RJ Barrett ($23.9 million) and maybe an Immanuel Quickley ($4.2 million) type deal? Again, the Knicks are the team that excites me the most in a Pascal Siakam haul.
To echo my earlier sentiments, I believe Pascal stays. Vegas has him to stay on the Raptors at -155 odds. Knowing the Raptors’ head office and the way they handle these matters, teams would have to be calling up offering a Gobert-type ransom to peak Masai and Bobby’s interest.
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