The Toronto Raptors have steered clear of NBA trade rumors this offseason, as they have had a relatively quiet summer. However, the lack of activity comes as a surprise, considering that the team missed out on the playoffs last year. The Toronto Raptors won the championship in 2019, but haven't shown a lot of promise since then.
Pascal Siakam could be crucial for the Toronto Raptors as they chase championship glory
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Toronto Raptors vice-chairman Masai Ujiri has indicated that star forward Pascal Siakam will stay with the Toronto Raptors ahead of the 2021/22 NBA season.
Here's what Amick wrote about Ujiri's position on Pascal Siakam amidst the NBA trade rumors surrounding the athletic power forward -
"Sources say Ujiri has recently made it clear to Siakam’s side that he’s not being shopped, and that there’s a clear basketball vision here for how these pieces — old and new — can work.”
Pascal Siakam had a slightly underwhelming 2020-21 season with the Toronto Raptors in comparison to the lofty standards he had set the previous campaign. He averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game last season, as compared to 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in the 2019-20 season. He made the All-Star and All-NBA teams that year.
The Toronto Raptors finished in 12th spot in the competitive Eastern Conference last season, registering a 31-41 record in the process. The Raptors squad's quality and depth are a far cry from the likes of 2020-21 champions Milwaukee Bucks and the mighty Brooklyn Nets. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the player development and recruitment front for them to relive championship glory.
Pascal Siakam can be the foundation piece for that kind of success, considering he is still just 26 years old. Siakam has shown the ability to improve as each season passes, a fact that was especially evident during the 2018-19 campaign. Siakam won the Most Improved Player award, excelling on both offense and defense.
Leadership is another facet of the game Siakam might be asked to take care of in the upcoming season, as the Toronto Raptors will miss out on the locker room presence of Kyle Lowry. Pascal Siakam is a talented player, and it won't be a surprise if he leads his side to a playoff berth this year.