NBA Trade Rumors: The case for and against Toronto Raptors moving Pascal Siakam 

Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam
Arhaan Raje

The latest NBA trade rumors suggest the Toronto Raptors are making star forward Pascal Siakam available.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report was the first to report on this in his recent article, which was mainly focused on Bradley Beal considering a trade request. Fischer wrote the following on the Raptors potentially including Siakam in a deal for Beal:

"Toronto, for example, could offer a package centered on the No. 4 selection and Pascal Siakam, who's considered available for trade by sources around the league."

The Toronto Raptors finished the 2020-21 NBA season as the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference with a dismal 27-45 record. Their campaign was plagued with injuries and COVID-19, which saw the majority of their key players sidelined for long stretches. They also played their home games in Tampa due to COVID-19 restrictions back home in Canada, which played a major role in them not being able to make it to the postseason.

The Toronto Raptors have a huge offseason ahead as they are likely to see veteran leader Kyle Lowry depart in free agency.

A mini-rebuild is on the cards for the team. They will look to create a squad around a young core comprising Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam, who surprisingly could be made available, as mentioned earlier.

Siakam is considered one of the cornerstones of the Toronto Raptors and also signed a $137 million four-year extension that kicked in at the start of last season.

So far, the Golden State Warriors have been one team that has shown a significant amount of interest in acquiring Pascal Siakam. But questions will be raised on whether trading Siakam at this stage is a sensible proposition or not. On that note, let's assess the pros and cons of Toronto making their All-Star forward available this summer.

Analyzing the case 'for' Toronto Raptors trading Pascal Siakam

The Golden State Warriors are a team interested in trading for Pascal Siakam.
The Golden State Warriors are a team interested in trading for Pascal Siakam.

Pascal Siakam was expected to be a team leader after his heroics during the 2018-19 campaign when he also won the Most Improved Player of the Year award.

It was also the Toronto Raptors' championship-winning season. He started the 2019-20 campaign decently and also made his All-Star game debut. But Siakam struggled to perform after the pandemic forced the season to continue in the Orlando Bubble.

Siakam averaged only 16.8 points per game in the eight regular-season games he played in the bubble and 17 points per game in the postseason. He shot 39.6% from the field and just 18.9% from the three-point range. He had 13 points and five turnovers in the Raptors' Game 7 loss to Boston in the conference semifinals, which ended his All-Star campaign on a sour note.

The 2020-21 NBA season was a great platform for him to turn things around. However, Pascal Siakam continued to struggle and saw a marginal dip in his numbers, averaging 21.4 points and 7.2 rebounds, shooting just 29.7% from downtown. To put that into perspective, he shot 35.9% from the three-point line in the 2019-20 campaign on 6.1 attempts per contest.

The Eastern Conference just saw a new NBA champion crowned in the form of the Milwaukee Bucks, and also has teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, who are all head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the East right now.

The New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks are also teams to watch out for as they made huge strides in the 2020-21 campaign, while the Boston Celtics will look to improve as well. In a stacked conference like this, it is tough to see the Raptors achieve big things with their current core, comprising a 27-year-old Siakam.

NBA trade rumors suggest the Golden State Warriors could include James Wiseman, draft picks and presumably Andrew Wiggins, in a deal to acquire Pascal Siakam from the Raptors. A deal like this should be enticing for the Raptors as it will fill crucial roster spots for the side and also help them rebuild with quality assets that could develop into blue-chip level talent.

The case 'against' Toronto Raptors trading Pascal Siakam

All-Star caliber players are hard to come by in the league, and Pascal Siakam, despite his struggles, could match the All-Star caliber year he had in the 2019-20 season. Players tend to have ups and downs in their career, and at the moment, considering his recent performances, Siakam's value is probably quite low.

He is barely 1.5 years into his $137 million contract, which still has 2.5 years left on it. The Toronto Raptors have the leverage in that regard and can instead hold onto Pascal Siakam until they can at least try to recoup some of his lost value.

The Raptors can then consider trading him in the future instead and look to acquire a proven superstar to fuel their hopes of becoming a dominant team in the Eastern Conference again. By then, they would also figure out the other roster spots they need to fill and would likely be more stable than they are right now.

If Pascal Siakam himself turns into a superstar-level talent, the Raptors could also stick with him as their centerpiece. It is tough to predict the highs and lows of players in the NBA, and with significant time left on Siakam's contract, the Raptors should look to be more patient with him.

Edited by S Chowdhury
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