The Toronto Raptors finally appear to be ready to hit the reset button this season. The Raptors dealt forward OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks with RJ Barrett coming back to Toronto in the deal, choosing a long-term cost-controlled asset over the longtime Raptors forward who was part of the team’s 2019 championship. Toronto has always been in the rumor mill when it comes to blowing up its core but it feels more real this time around. That leads to Pascal Siakam, the star forward who is on an expiring deal.
Siakam is averaging 22.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He’s a bonafide offensive force, shooting 52.1% from the floor. That’s arguably his best mark ever when you account for volume. While Siakam’s three-point shot has never materialized, he remains a dynamic scorer who can help any team. He also has playoff experience, which could help a group like the Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks or Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Pacers have appeared to be the frontrunners to land Siakam for a long time. Indiana does have some salary filler in the form of Buddy Hield, while Obi Toppin and Jalen Smith would represent some young players Toronto can potentially rebuild with. The Pacers also have plenty of first-round picks to deal. For Siakam, this would be the chance to play in the best offense in the league ahead of free agency.
The Hawks have also been in the mix for the Raptors forward. Atlanta has less flexibility when it comes to making a deal, but the Hawks could send a package with De’Andre Hunter, Onyeka Okongwu and Saddiq Bey along with draft picks. Siakam doesn’t help Atlanta much defensively, and the Hawks might still miss the playoffs even if they do add him. While the deal makes sense for Toronto, it might not do much for Atlanta or Siakam. The Thunder are intriguing but appear to content staying put. They’ve got a lot of young talent playing well together and are in no reason to deal that for a second-tier star who might leave in the summer.
The Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors could also be in the mix for Siakam. The Mavericks are in a seven-team mix in the West with at least 20 wins, and trading for the Raptors forward could give them the interior scoring punch they’re lacking right now. The Raptors are going to need a lot here, but Tim Hardaway Jr. and Grant Williams seem to be the bare minimum to get the conversation started.
After sitting the final 18 minutes of Nuggets loss, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga has lost faith in Steve Kerr and no longer believes that Kerr will allow him to reach his full potential, sources say.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 5, 2024
Story at @TheAthletic with @anthonyVslater: https://t.co/TIAGABnyS8
The Warriors aren’t going to deal Kuminga after one outburst, but it clearly seems this situation has been about more than just one game. The forward has been playing more minutes this season and is a key cog in the rotation, so dealing him requires a big piece coming back. Siakam would be a perfect fit for this team offensively, and Draymond Green would cover for him defensively when the veteran returns from suspension. The problem for salary filling would be Golden State having to give up either Chris Paul or Andrew Wiggins. The Raptors probably prefer Wiggins, but the Warriors know the value of having a wing player in the playoffs. Golden State has picks to deal as well.
The Pacers, Mavericks and Warriors appear to be the best fits for Siakam. Indiana would give him the best chance to improve his numbers ahead of free agency while being in the playoff mix, the Mavericks might give him a legitimate shot at a title and would likely be committed to re-signing him. The Warriors would need Siakam to make the last years of their dynasty relevant, but would also likely be willing to give him an extension. Look for these three teams to be most invested in pursuing the Raptors forward ahead of the trade deadline.