The Toronto Raptors are at a crossroads. They fired their head coach Nick Nurse and replaced him with Darko Rajaković for the first time. Fred VanVleet left for the Houston Rockets in free agency and they were only able to replace him with Dennis Schroder.
The Raptors are still a long way from being title contenders. Since winning the title in 2019, the Raptors haven’t made it past the second round and have missed the playoffs altogether more (2) than playoff series wins (1) in that time span.
There’s a reason Pascal Siakam is the talk of the trade this summer, and why they should trade him.
Siakam’s Contract Status
However there are variable things in this business equation. Siakam is entering the final year of his contract. He’s trying to make it clear that he wants to stay in Toronto, or at least that’s what he told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.
There is growing speculation that Toronto star Pascal Siakam – whose deal is expiring – will not re-sign with any team that attempts to trade for him because his priority is to remain with the Raptors, sources say. @NBAonTNT, @Bleacher Report,
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) 22 June 2023
Maybe it’s just a show off. He could be eligible for a Supermax extension if he earns an All-NBA spot next season. Betting on himself to do it for the third time in his career and make more money with the Raptors isn’t the strangest idea. Maybe Siakam and his crew are already planting the seeds to lead him to a special destination he has in mind that we don’t yet know about. Perhaps.
The Raptors can’t let him out the door for nothing if they’re sold on the idea of not being a title contender, don’t want to pay him a potential supermax, and/or give the franchise keys entirely to Scottie Barnes. As we’ve pointed out before, the Raptors are no longer a contender or even that close. Part of the reason for this is not only the awkward situation between Siakam, Barnes and Ozzie Anunobi, but also the waste of assets from the organization.
walk out the door
When the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2018, they knew what they were doing. If the experiment was a disaster, they could turn to rebuilding after giving away DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a first-round pick. At least he got a title from that transaction.
But since then, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet have all left the building and all the Raptors have to show for them are Precious Achiuva and Gary Trent Jr., who are also in the last year of their contracts after picking up their player options this summer. VanVleet’s departure made the Raptors’ decision to trade a lightly protected first round pick (a protected top-6 in 2024) to bring back Jakob Poeltl even more strange.
It’s poor asset management from Masai Ujiri and it has hurt Toronto’s ability to build around Pascal Siakam, Ozzie Anunobi and Scottie Barnes. And now that Siakam is soon to become a free agent, they may let him go for nothing when he can get valuable pieces back. So where can they trade it? Atlanta and Indiana could be a potential lover Because recent reports have named the two as potential boyfriends
Assuming Siakam will agree to a contract extension with any club, what can they get back for Siakam? This is what a trade with the Pacers could look like once Jares Walker is eligible to be traded after signing his rookie contract.
And this is what a Hawks trade could look like on Sept. 6.
Then again, assuming that Pascal Siakam will sign an extension with these teams so it’s worth trading him for, then it would make sense for Toronto to turn the page. If Siakam will agree to a long-term deal with these teams, this is Toronto’s last window something valuable out of it.
They are more than poised to become a dangerous playoff team, heading back toward the mediocrity that plagued Washington toward the end of Bradley Beal’s tenure.
If the price is right, they should pull the trigger.