The Toronto Raptors entered the NBA offseason finding themselves in an interesting spot as a franchise, and even after the draft and free agency, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding this organization. Not only are questions being asked about what the backcourt will look like with the departure of Fred VanVleet to the Houston Rockets as a free agent, but Pascal Siakam’s future with the franchise is also being raised in trade discussions around the league.
Drafted 27th overall by the Raptors in 2016, Siakam has spent all seven years of his career in Toronto and has transformed himself into a two-time All-Star and All-NBA talent during these years. Just last season, Siakam averaged career highs in points (24.2) and assists (5.8) as well as made a career high 630 total field goals.
There is no denying that he is one of the best frontcourt players in the entire league and still just 29 years old, Siakam is just entering the prime years of his career. However, the clock is ticking for the Raptors star and his team, as Toronto doesn’t appear to be in any immediate position to compete for a championship after missing the playoffs last year with just one year left on his contract.
It seems like an obvious choice for the Raptors to extend and want to keep Siakam, especially since they lost one of their best players in VanVleet this offseason, yet the organization hasn’t shown any eagerness to offer their big man a new deal as unrestricted free agency approaches next summer. However, Siakam, on the other hand, has made it clear that he wants a new contract in Toronto and only in Toronto.
The dilemma of whether or not to start fresh and undergo some sort of rebuild is very much on the minds of the Raptors’ front office personnel at the moment, especially with the high price a Siakam-oriented trade could come back.
Then again, team president Masai Ujiri has never been one to give up on his roster and always seems to be swinging for the fences to keep his organization at the forefront of the conversation in the Eastern Conference. They acquired Kawhi Leonard in 2018 for DeMar DeRozan, and now making a similar move for Ujiri certainly isn’t out of the question.
League sources told ClutchPoints that as things stand before August, there doesn’t appear to be any significant progress on a trade involving Siakam, especially considering that there are some within the walls of the Raptors organization who don’t want to see the star go. Recently picking Scottie Barnes in the first round and making him the focal point seems to be in Toronto’s future, so Siakam has been tossing his name in offseason trade rumors.
Teams Pursuing Pascal Siakam
Among the teams chasing him, sources said, the Atlanta Hawks have been the most aggressive team that has reached the Raptors. Quinn Snyder is entering his first full season as the Hawks’ head coach and the team is looking to wrap up its All-Star backcourt in Trae Young and Dejonte Murray. win now talents, Atlanta has been busy adding depth this offseason and working on their finances.
After recently signing Wesley Matthews, the Hawks continued to add depth by acquiring veteran guard Patty Mills in a multi-team trade this summer. They also parted ways with John Collins, who had approximately $80 million left on his contract through the 2025–26 season. While they are high on Jalen Johnson and Onyeka Okongwu, two recent first-rounders still on rookie contracts, the Hawks are looking to upgrade their frontcourt, which is why Siakam has emerged as their top target.
However, finding a trade that works with Toronto hasn’t presented itself as a path, as the Hawks can’t put together a lucrative offer. Murray would likely have been a key name for the Raptors once VanVleet left, but he recently signed a contract extension with Atlanta and could not be traded until January at the earliest. It appears that the Hawks have no interest in moving Murray at this point, which is why they signed him to a $120 million extension.
As previously mentioned, Okongwu and Johnson are two young players the Hawks hold high, and it would not be surprising if there is reluctance to let go of either talent. That leaves them with players like De’Andre Hunter, Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic to possibly deal with. The Raptors really shouldn’t be interested in any of these three players, as moving Siakam for one or two of them doesn’t make Toronto better in any way.
Looking around the league, there are a few other teams that could make sense as potential landing spots for Siakam if the Raptors were eager to trade him before the start of the new season. The Indiana Pacers have been in the market for an upgrade at the power forward position for quite some time and the Orlando Magic appear to be one All-Star-level player away from taking the next step in the East as a young, rising franchise.
Benedict Maturin, Obi Toppin, Andrew Nembhard and rookie Jareus Walker are all interesting, young talents that Indiana could eventually take advantage of to add that upgrade at the forward position. In Orlando, the Magic will likely make their entire roster available in trade talks except for Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. No team is in constant contact with the Raptors, however, as there was never any real attraction over a potential trade before this offseason, sources said.
Toronto’s decision impacts his immediate future
What happens in Toronto ahead of training camp in September will determine what this franchise looks like in the near future. Obviously the path the Raptors find themselves in now changes if they trade Siakam out of the blue, but by not offering him a contract extension in the offseason, Siakam will be the center of trade conversations entering the new NBA season.
For a franchise that has always shied away from drama and the spotlight unless they are having success, this isn’t necessarily what the Raptors would want.
There’s no doubt that trading Siakam could bring a handful of young, high-potential assets to Toronto. Then again, if they don’t replace him with another All-Star it would be a huge step forward for the organization. The league’s new CBA rules may be looming large over this front office and resulting in some conflicting views on a potential trade, but the Raptors are by no means a bad team and they are still in position to be back in the playoffs in the 2023-24 season.
VanVleet’s departure in free agency opened up more minutes for Gary Trent Jr. And the 24-year-old sharpshooter has shown glimpses of his scoring potential over the past few years in Toronto. Needless to mention, the team signed Dennis Schroder this offseason, a veteran capable of becoming the primary ball-handler and facilitator leading his team’s backcourt.
As for the rest of this roster, Jakob Poeltl returned on a new four-year contract, Jalen McDaniels joined as a versatile forward on a two-year deal, and Otto Porter Jr. He may finally be healthy after playing only eight games last season due to a foot injury. Barnes remains the focal point at either forward position and Oji Anunobi is developing into a two-way threat on the wing.
They are by no means the best team in the league, but with Siakam as their best player at the moment, the Raptors are still in a position to compete in the Eastern Conference. The culture Toronto has built for itself over the years isn’t going anywhere and until they get the price they want, there’s really no need to part with their only All-Star talent.