Rumor Roundup: Could Hawks Really Bring Pascal Siakam South?

At this point, it’s almost impossible not to pick up on the noise circulating about Atlanta’s involvement in the NBA trade market. Leading up to free agency, the Hawks appeared to make nearly every starter from last year’s team available for the right price. And shortly before free agency even tipped, the Hawks went ahead with moving John Collins to the Utah Jazz mostly for spare parts.

It was clear that everyone was on alert when free traders even began in earnest. With financial flexibility motivations at stakeThe Hawks had another contract looming on the horizon that would tie up even more of their salary cap than Collins’ deal in the coming years.

After initially signaling the possibility of parting ways with Dejounte Murray ahead of him hitting unrestricted free agency in 2024, Murray and the Hawks agreed to a four-year extension with a maximum combined value of about $120.5 million, starting in 2024-25. The deal appears on the surface to be a big win — a below-market deal for a franchise building block.

But the Hawks weren’t done driving and trading yet, including a couple of minor moves that resulted in the signing of Patty Mills.

Still, the main target that has bubbled to the surface of the rumor mill involves two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam, who the Raptors may be trying to move with a year left on his contract. Atlanta has been mentioned frequently as a landing spot, according to several national reporters with more in-depth knowledge of the talks.

The latest report from NBA insider Marc Stein’s Substack has details:

You can safely assume the Dallas Mavericks are looking for Atlanta to win the trade race for Toronto’s Siakam … and that they’re also hoping such a trade features Hawks center Clint Capela as opposed to a strictly De’Andre Hunter-centric appointment .

Capela has two seasons left on his current contract worth nearly $43 million. The Raptors appear to have little need for an expensive center after re-signing Jakob Poeltl this month to a four-year deal worth $78 million, so a theoretical trade of Siakam to the Hawks with Capela would open the door for Dallas to join. trade as a third team or pursue a separate deal with Toronto for Capela.

The Mavericks tried to acquire Capela in June’s draft trade, but were unable to come to terms with the Hawks when Atlanta asked for Josh Green in addition to the No. 10 pick in the draft. (Incidentally, the Mavericks are expected to open a contract extension with Green soon after it was agreed that they would begin free agency later.)

The bigger question with Atlanta, given what is perceived around the league as its increasing willingness to trade Capela, is how aggressive the Hawks are willing to be with their Siakam offer. The All-Star forward has continued to signal an unwillingness to sign an extension with any team that trades for him.

Siakam has one year left on his nearly $38 million contract and has made it clear he prefers to stay with the team that drafted him No. 27 overall in 2016. Which could make giving up too many trade assets risky.

There is an inherent skepticism around the league when it comes to the Raptors and their willingness to trade Siakam or any other frontline player after last February’s trade deadline, when Toronto entertained various proposals involving multiple Raptors and ended up trading none of them. You’ll surely remember that the Raptors actually added to the team’s core instead by trading for Poeltl.

Nevertheless, I came away from my time in the summer league in Las Vegas with the distinct impression that the Raptors are still exploring another move. Maybe even two.

This week’s emergence of Indiana as a potential Siakam suitor was also followed by murmurs of Orlando interest, via my Sportsnet colleague Michael Grange.

In an unrelated but undeniably interesting sidebar: I’m told Orlando has been Siakam’s preferred offseason training base for years.

To recap: a multi-team deal seems to be the prevailing structure that it would take for Siakam to be brought to Atlanta — reportedly too late, of course. Those same reports often mention that Dallas has some desire to bring Clint Capela to center to bolster their rebuilt core of big men.

On the #thisleague podcast hosted by TNT and Bleacher Report’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the two insiders talk about news and reports from around the league. On a episode released on July 7 after news of the Dejounte Murray extension broke, the duo talked about the Hawks’ pursuit of Siakam:

Haynes: We’ve heard how the Atlanta Hawks have really been trying to get into the Pascal Siakam sweepstakes. We touched on that a bit in previous pods before. Pascal wants to stay in Toronto. I think he has a year left on his deal, so it’s going into that territory — a similar situation Kawhi Leonard went through. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but Dejounte [Murray], it’s a really good deal for him. I just don’t know if his future is still there. That is the unknown. Have you heard anything, Stein?

Stone: The first question was ‘could Dejounte get enough money in an extension that would make him want to sign now?’ Because there was a mindset that said ‘you know what, don’t be surprised if he chooses to wait until unrestricted free agency next summer where he can earn more.’ But in this new CBA, the extension rules were changed to try to give the established teams a better chance to keep their guys. We keep seeing that more and more and more.

I recently did a television essay on this for Bally Sports Southwest. And part of that essay was [that] we are seeing so many more of these extensions. It’s just extensions, extensions, extensions. The number of top stars making it to free agency anymore, that group just seems to be getting smaller and smaller. And that’s one of the main reasons why the trade market has replaced free agency as the easiest way to really change your team and change it dramatically.

Marc Stein later goes on to speak more in-depth about Siakam to the Atlanta rumors, saying:

Stein: Pascal Siakam, opposition to a trade with Atlanta has really been on his side. Exactly where the Raptors fall in regards to trading Pascal Siakam has been much harder to pinpoint, as it often is with the Raptors. At the trade deadline, there was so much curiosity. What would the Raptors do? Would Fred VanVleet be made available for trade? Would Siakam be made available for trade? What about OG Anunoby? What about Gary Trent Jr.? There were trade discussions around all those guys.

And in the end, Toronto didn’t trade any of them. They end up making a trade for Jakob Poeltl. Now fast forward a few months later. Fred VanVleet chooses to go to Houston. And the questions start over. What should the Raptors do? Is Pascal Siakam actually being dealt by the Toronto Raptors? It has been more difficult to measure.

The most consistent rumblings have been that the Hawks had been very interested in a trade for Siakam and that Siakam has been resistant to it. The message has been sent, whispered — and even louder than whispered — that Siakam wouldn’t really be interested in a contract extension if the Hawks were to move [for] Hi M. And now we’ll see what impact the signing of Murray has on the Hawks’ pursuit of Siakam.

Right now, only rumors and conjecture are available with the oft-reported caveat that Siakam prefers to test free agency rather than accept a contract extension with Atlanta. But the smoke in the days leading up to the Collins trade news — as well as the news of the Murray extension — quickly turned to fire. And the same thing just might happen sooner rather than later this offseason.

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