Coming off the most successful season in franchise history, the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors have large shoes to fill with the departure of Kawhi Leonard. It has been a bittersweet period for the team, but fans are hopeful that the growth of Pascal Siakam will keep them as a top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The 2019 NBA Most Improved Player doubled his production from his sophomore campaign, averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. He also shot a career-high of 54.9 percent from the field to take his game to the next level. The Raptors are now ready to reward Siakam for his efforts with an extension, and the two sides have begun early negotiations.
“The Raptors have engaged in preliminary talks with Siakam’s representatives, according to sources, but there’s no indication that a deal is imminent. Siakam’s camp is surely looking for an extension at or close to his maximum of roughly $130 million over four years, as they should,” said Josh Lewenberg of TSN.
With the extension deadline approaching on October 21, the two sides will try to find an agreement by then. Given the major strides taken by Siakam last year, it’s no wonder that he feels justified in asking for a maximum contract. It’s also understandable if the Raptors prefer to wait until next summer to see whether Siakam can replicate that same form.
And while many teams are rumored to have shown interest in Siakam, the Raptors also reserve the right to match any offer sheet he receives as a restricted free agent, if he happens to test the open market.
As a late first round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Siakam didn’t generate a lot of hype at the time. However, he did catch the attention of Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who saw Siakam’s potential at an early stage. He has gone on to exceed all expectations after just three seasons in the league. Ujiri has previously claimed that Siakam could develop into a legitimate star, noting the 25-year-old’s remarkable work ethic to go alongside his natural talent.
Several NBA teams may be open to trading for Siakam this year, as reported by The Inquisitr. The Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, and Oklahoma City Thunder are rumored to be among the interested teams, and they would have some valuable assets to offer. However, it’s more likely that the Raptors will re-sign Siakam to a deal before giving up on their most valuable player.