It’s been a tumultuous year for the Toronto Raptors, who can’t seem to catch a break. The latest obstacle saw tensions run high after Pascal Siakam had a heated confrontation with Nick Nurse following Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sportsnet’s Michael Grange reported that after the game Siakam, who was benched for the entire fourth quarter, was unhappy and took out his frustration on Nurse with "words beyond standard cursing," which apparently crossed lines and got so personal that teammates had to intervene.
“Pascal wasn’t very happy that he didn’t play in the fourth quarter,” coach Nick Nurse said in Wednesday’s pregame media availability. “He [Siakam] expressed those concerns and that’s about it. The discipline stuff is being worked out with the front office.”
News of the incident first surfaced on Tuesday from The Athletic’s Shams Charnia, who initially reported that the 26-year-old forward was fined $50,000 by the team. This report was eventually denied by the Raptors, who said that no decision had yet been made.
This isn’t the first time Siakam and Nurse have been at odds with each other.
On Dec. 31, Nurse held Siakam out of the starting lineup against the New York Knicks when the All-Star forward went to the locker room after fouling out against the Philadelphia 76ers the night before with seconds remaining in the game.
While confrontations between players and coaches are nothing new, Grange noted that Siakam felt like he’s been unfairly singled out in what’s been a disastrous season.
For his part, Nurse confirmed that he reached out to Siakam during Wednesday’s pregame media availability.
“Yeah, of course I’ve connected with [Siakam] him,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m coaching Pascal, it was not awkward one bit coaching him the next night. That’s where we are.”
The controversy couldn't come at a worse time for the Raptors, who entered Wednesday in a nine-game losing streak amid rumours the club is entertaining deals for Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline.