It’s clear that the Toronto Raptors want Pascal Siakam to be a core member of their roster. It was only a matter of time before the two sides found an agreement, especially as the extension deadline approached on October 21. It’s been rumored that the team was hoping to receive a marginal discount for Siakam, which extended the negotiation process between them.
Following weeks of discussion, the Raptors signed Siakam to a four-year, $130 million maximum contract extension, as reported by ESPN. He was set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason, but the Raptors were unwilling to risk losing Siakam on the market. Coming off a breakout year, Siakam averaged career-highs of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists to claim the 2019 NBA Most Improved Player award.
Now that Kawhi Leonard has moved on to the Los Angeles Clippers, Siakam will take on a bigger role for the team on the offensive end. He has proven to be capable of handling the pressure at the biggest stage, where he continuously stepped up to the challenge throughout the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Siakam’s contributions on both ends of the floor aided the Raptors in capturing their first-ever championship.
Considering that Siakam was relatively unknown until last season, some fans have been skeptical about the terms of the deal. The Raptors could have delayed extension talks until the summer, but it appears the team wanted to immediately commit to their new star player.
This campaign, the goal for Siakam is to earn a spot on the All-Star team while simultaneously keeping the Raptors as a top seed in the Eastern Conference. The team faces a tough challenge ahead with the loss of Leonard and Danny Green, but the Raptors are hopeful that their younger prospects will make a significant leap.
With the franchise establishing a winning culture, Raptors president Masai Ujiri wants the team to remain competitive for as long as possible. He has dismissed talks about going through a rebuild, believing that the Raptors can bounce back from Leonard’s absence. As previously noted by The Inquisitr, the Raptors have not shown interest in trading their veteran players — Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, or Serge Ibaka.
It will be a transitional period for all players involved, as they are expected to take on larger roles. Siakam is now in a great position to show his worth as a franchise player, although the Raptors are well-aware that there may be some bumps along the way.