As the winner of the 2018-19 Most Improved Player award, Pascal Siakam is clearly one of the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors’ most important young assets. Along with the likes of Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, Siakam’s youthful promise complements the veteran leadership and on-court performance provided by the likes of Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka. But could the Raptors, who lost superstar Kawhi Leonard in free agency to the Los Angeles Clippers, consider trading the 25-year-old forward if the right offer comes along?
In an article published on Tuesday, SBNation‘s Michael Pina noted that Siakam, despite being eligible for an extension on his rookie contract, has yet to sign such a deal, with the Raptors possibly save enough salary-cap space so they could sign two players to max contracts in the summer of 2020. The Cameroonian forward has also been left out of trade discussions that could have allowed Toronto to land a superstar replacement for Leonard this summer. However, it was pointed out that despite Siakam’s value to the Raptors, the team just might have reasons to consider moving him in a midseason trade early next year.
Citing specific examples of midseason trades involving Siakam, Pina suggested that the New Orleans Pelicans could offer guards Lonzo Ball and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, center Jaxson Hayes, and “more than a couple” of the future draft picks they acquired this summer when they shipped Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. No specific hypothetical deals were mentioned, but the SBNation writer also mentioned two other teams – the Oklahoma City Thunder and Atlanta Hawks – that could show interest in Siakam.
“Siakam makes sense everywhere, and even on a max contract he’s young enough not to push any timelines ahead of schedule,” Pina wrote.
At the moment, the Raptors have yet to express interest in trading Siakam to a rival team. However, Pina observed that Toronto is at a point where they may have to deal with the possibility of an “unfeasible” title defense, much like the Dirk Nowitzki-led 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks. He stressed that the Raptors have many other things to consider apart from the potential return on a Siakam trade, such as whether they should stick to their present lineup and hope for a breakthrough season from their younger, less-proven players, or blow up the roster ahead of the February trade deadline and start rebuilding in earnest.
Due to the aforementioned dilemmas, several of Toronto’s other players have been the subject of trade rumors since the start of the 2019 offseason. Last week, The Inquisitr reported on speculation that Lowry could be shipped to a contending team in need of a point guard before this season’s trade deadline, barring an “unexpectedly hot start” from the defending champions.