Top trade destinations for Raptors’ Pascal Siakam

Although we’re in the dog days of the NBA’s offseason, a few big dominoes have yet to fall.

Most notable are the situations with superstar guards Damian Lillard and James Harden’s respective trade wishes and the trade rumors are swirling around Toronto Raptors star forward Pascal, I’m sorry.

The situations with Lillard and Harden, while big, are situations that most would expect to happen eventually. When players of their caliber say they want out, they usually get their way at one point or another – as evidenced by Harden twice before with his requests to be traded out of Houston and Brooklyn.

The Siakam situation, on the other hand, is probably more interesting to monitor because he has reportedly expressed a desire to remain with the Raptors, while the team seems more willing to move on from him.

The 29-year-old is coming off the best season of his career. He averaged career highs in points (24.2 per game) and assists (5.8 per game) while grabbing 7.8 rebounds per game. competition as he was named an All-Star for the second time in his career.

Because he fell short of making an All-NBA team this past season, he missed out on being eligible for a super-max contract extension, but entering the final season of his current deal, he remains in line for a regular-max extension estimated to be worth about $192.2 million over five years.

This coming season, Siakam must make close to $37.9 million before a potential extension would kick in.

It is this extension situation, combined with Siakam’s age, that does not necessarily set him up well with younger pieces on the roster such as Scottie Barnes and AND Anunobyand Fred VanVleet’s decision to walk in free agency likely all led to the situation the Raptors find themselves in with him.

The Raptors are reportedly shopping star Pascal Siakam, but who would be the ideal trade partner for Toronto? (Getty Images)

It makes sense that Siakam wants to stay because he can make the most money back in Toronto, but from a Raptors team-building perspective, would it be best for the team’s future to commit to him long-term again and at such a high price?

Therefore, the rumor mill has been running about Siakam almost immediately after Denver Nuggets won the championship. A talented player looking for an extension as he enters the final year of his contract is always going to be fodder for trade speculation.

Of the 29 other teams around the league Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic have been the clubs most closely linked to Siakam. That Portland Trail Blazers has also consistently been in the mix around a possible Siakam transaction.

Here’s a look at how these teams could make these deals work, how Siakam could fit into them, and what the potential upside for Toronto would be.

Atlanta Hawks

Of all the teams, the Hawks have been reported to be in pursuit of Siakam the longest as they appear to be looking for frontcourt help to pair with. Trae Young – especially after trading John Collins to Utah Jazz.

The Hawks have a few options to make a Siakam deal happen, but one of the most attractive trade options appears to have already been taken off the table after Dejounte Murray signed a four-year extension with the Hawks earlier in July, making him non-tradeable for at least six months.

Murray would have been an interesting piece because while he isn’t a big shooter, he would have instantly stepped in as VanVleet’s replacement as the team’s starting point guard, blessed with great size, strength and playmaking ability and is only 26.

Therefore, the possibility of a deal centered around 25-year-old wing De’Andre Hunter has been floated. Hunter still has plenty of developmental upside and just entered a relatively team-friendly four-year, $90 million contract. His fit on the wing-heavy Raptors — especially since Toronto would likely have to call in another wing Bogdan Bogdanovic making the trade work — doesn’t appear to be the best, but acquiring him could help better align Toronto’s cap situation as it looks to make future moves.

All of that being said, however, the Hawks don’t look like a great trade partner for Toronto right now. Unless Atlanta wants to part with Trae Young for Siakam, with Murray off the table until the winter, a summer deal with Siakam with the Hawks doesn’t appear to bring back a suitable move from both a player and draft pick perspective (the Hawks picks don’t appear to be that valuable).

Indiana Pacers

After signing star guard Tyrese Haliburton to a five-year, max-$260 million extension, it’s clear the Pacers are looking to build around the 23-year-old and take the next step toward contention after a hopeful 35-47 finish last season that seemed to cement a core centered around Haliburton and young Canadians Benedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhardt.

Adding Siakam could allow the Pacers to take the next step, as he looks like he would fit in seamlessly as a No. 2 option behind Haliburton, with a versatile, playmaking skill set that would only benefit them as the newly acquired Bruce Brown and stretch five Myles Turner.

From a Raptors perspective, there are things to like about Indiana as a potential trade partner. They could get a deal done by flipping Siakam Buddy Hield (who is entering the final year of his contract), a young player as a 23-year-old big man Jalen Smithrookie Jarace Walker and then some first round picks as sweetener.

The key to this deal would be Walker, the No. 8 overall pick from this year’s draft. Still only 19 years old, Walker is a combo forward with explosive athleticism and tremendous upside on both sides of the ball. Acquiring him would nicely align his timeline with Scottie Barnes and would indicate that the Raptors are likely looking to start a youth movement.

The downside to acquiring Walker is that he can’t be traded after July 31st, but that should still be enough time to get him in training camp and working with the Raptors should they try to pull off such a deal.

Orlando Magic

Encouraged by the rapid success seen from the reigning rookie of the year Paolo Banchero and impressive Franz WagnerThe Magic look like they want to give contention another chance, and adding Siakam would create a versatile, positional, hard-to-cover frontcourt for the Magic.

Note that Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman was Masai Ujiri’s No. 2 when Toronto first drafted Siakam in 2016, and the interest and constant rumors linking the Magic to Siakam makes a lot of sense.

A deal with Orlando could also make sense for Toronto.

With Orlando drafting Anthony Black sixth overall, they have an abundance at point guard, with him, Markelle Fultz and Jalen suggests. The Magic recently guaranteed Fultz’s contract for this season, while Suggs has only been lukewarm in his first two NBA seasons, with younger, bigger talent now coming up behind him.

There is some give to that situation, and the Raptors could benefit by trading Siakam to Orlando in a deal centered around Suggs, reuniting the 22-year-old Gonzaga product with his childhood friend Barnes and helping build a young Raptors foundation.

As a bonus, for such a deal to work, it basically had to include one of Jonathan Isaac or Fultz, with Isaac being the more likely trade candidate due to the presumed importance of Fultz as a stopgap exit guard before Black is ready to take the reins.

Isaac has largely been out of action for three seasons, ravaged by injuries, but he’s still only 25 years old, is 6-foot-10 with guard skills and can defend multiple positions.

There are many similarities to his game with Siakam’s, but due to injuries, he never saw his career blossom the way the Raptors forward did. A chance for Isaac to revive his career with Toronto would therefore be quite poetic. The Raptors already know what works for players with similar skill sets, and his age would fit well with a potential youth movement in Toronto.

And if Isak can’t get well and doesn’t train, that’s fine too. He’s not the prize the Raptors wanted to chase in the first place.

Gary Harris‘ Expiring contract will likely have to be included in this transaction as well to make the money work, and there should be first-round picks headed back Toronto’s way as well.

Portland Trail Blazers

Before the draft, there was a big desire from Raptors fans for the team to make a deal with the Blazers for the third overall pick (which turned out to be Scott Henderson), using Siakam as the main currency.

Obviously, that didn’t happen, but there is still a chance that Siakam could end up in Portland and could play alongside Henderson.

One trade idea that has gained traction recently is a three-way deal between Portland Miami heat and Toronto, with the Raptors coming in as a third team to help make Lillard’s reported desire to be traded to Miami happen.

There would have to be a lot more involved, but the basic framework of the deal would see Lillard go to the Heat, Siakam move to the Trail Blazers and Tyler Hero lands with the Raptors.

For Miami, this would be great as they would acquire Lillard, one of the game’s great shooters and scorers, and Herro would be a great pickup for the Raptors as he is only 23, has averaged over 20 points per game in his last two seasons and would help with Toronto’s shooting problems.

This scenario for Portland, on the other hand, is not quite so clear-cut. Would the Blazers just be looking to acquire Siakam for one season as a sacrifice to potentially fill up on draft capital from both Miami and Toronto? It seems like that would be the most logical reasoning because Siakam doesn’t seem like he would fit well on the timeline with Portland young Henderson and Anfernee Simons.

This is an interesting idea, with a potentially large reward for the Raptors, but it doesn’t sit well with all parties involved.

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