Top trade destinations for Raptors' Pascal Siakam

The Raptors are reportedly shopping star forward Pascal Siakam, but who would make the ideal trade partner for Toronto?

Though we are in the midst of the dog days of the NBA’s offseason, a few big dominoes have yet to fall.

Most notably, the situations with superstar guards Damian Lillard and James Harden’s respective trade requests and the trade rumours swirling around Toronto Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam.

The situations with Lillard and Harden, while big, are situations that most would expect to happen eventually. When players of their calibre say they want out, they’ll usually get their way at some point or the other – as proven by Harden twice before with his requests to be traded out of Houston and Brooklyn.

The Siakam situation, on the other hand, is probably more interesting to monitor because he’s reportedly expressed a desire to remain with the Raptors, while the team looks to be more willing to move on from him.

The 29-year-old is coming off the best season of his career. He averaged career highs in points (24.2 per game) and assists (5.8 per game) while grabbing 7.8 rebounds per contest, as he was named an All-Star for the second time in his career.

Because he fell short of making an All-NBA team this past season, he missed out on being eligible for a super-max contract extension, but, entering the final season of his current contract, he’s still in line for a regular max extension that’s estimated to be worth about $192.2 million over five years.

This coming season, Siakam is due to make close to $37.9 million before a potential extension would kick in.

It’s this extension situation, coupled with Siakam’s age not necessarily lining him up well with younger pieces on the roster like Scottie Barnes and O.G. Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet’s decision to walk in free agency, that’s likely all led to the situation the Raptors find themselves with him.

The Raptors are reportedly shopping star forward Pascal Siakam, but who would make the ideal trade partner for Toronto? (Getty Images)
The Raptors are reportedly shopping star forward Pascal Siakam, but who would make the ideal trade partner for Toronto? (Getty Images)

It makes sense that Siakam would want to stay because he can make the most money remaining in Toronto, but, from a Raptors team-building perspective, would committing to him long term again and at such a hefty price be the best thing for the team’s future?

Hence why the rumour mill has been churning with regards to Siakam almost immediately after the Denver Nuggets won the championship. A talented player who’s looking for an extension as he enters the final year of his contract will always be a fodder for trade speculation.

Of the 29 other teams around the league, the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic have been the clubs most closely connected to Siakam. The Portland Trail Blazers have also been consistently in the mix surrounding a possible Siakam transaction.

Here’s a look at how these teams could make these deals work, how Siakam could fit in with them, and what the potential benefit for Toronto would be.

Atlanta Hawks

Of all teams, the Hawks have been reported to be in pursuit of Siakam the longest as they appear to be looking for frontcourt help to pair up with Trae Young — especially after dealing John Collins to the Utah Jazz.

The Hawks have a few avenues to make a Siakam deal happen, but one of the most attractive trade options appears to have already been taken off the table after Dejounte Murray signed a four-year extension with the Hawks earlier in July, making him ineligible to be traded for at least six months.

Murray would’ve been an interesting piece because, although he isn’t a great shooter, he would have instantly stepped in as VanVleet’s replacement as the team’s starting point guard, he’s blessed with great size, strength and playmaking ability and is only 26.

Therefore, the possibility of a deal centred around 25-year-old wing De’Andre Hunter has been floated. Hunter still has plenty of developmental upside and is just starting a relatively team friendly four-year, $90-million contract. His fit on the wing-heavy Raptors — especially because Toronto would likely have to demand another wing in Bogdan Bogdanovic the make the trade work — doesn’t look like it would be the best, but acquiring him could help better align Toronto’s cap situation as it looks to make future moves.

With all this being said, however, the Hawks don’t look like a great trade partner for Toronto right now. Unless Atlanta’s looking to part ways with Trae Young for Siakam, with Murray off the table until the winter, a summertime Siakam deal with the Hawks doesn’t look like it’ll bring back an appropriate haul both from a roster player perspective and draft picks (the Hawks picks don’t look to be all that valuable).

Indiana Pacers

After signing star guard Tyrese Haliburton to a five-year, $260-million max extension, it’s clear that the Pacers are looking to build around the 23-year-old and take that next step to contention after a hopeful 35-47 finish last season that appeared to cement a core centred around Haliburton, and young Canadians Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard.

Adding Siakam could allow the Pacers to take that next step as he looks like he would fit in seamlessly as a No. 2 option behind Haliburton, with a versatile, playmaking skill set that would only benefit the likes of the newly acquired Bruce Brown and stretch-five Myles Turner.

From a Raptors’ perspective, there’s stuff to like with Indiana as a potential trade partner. They could get a deal done by flipping Siakam for Buddy Hield (who is entering the final year of his contract), a young player like 23-year-old big man Jalen Smith, rookie Jarace Walker and then some first-round picks as a sweetener.

The key to this deal would be Walker, the No. 8 overall pick from this year’s draft. Still only 19 years old, Walker is a combo forward with explosive athleticism and tremendous upside on both sides of the ball. Acquiring him would nicely align his timeline with Scottie Barnes and would indicate that the Raptors are likely looking to begin a youth movement.

The wrinkle with acquiring Walker is he can’t be traded after July 31, but that should still be enough time to get him in training camp and working with the Raptors, should they look to pull such a deal off.

Orlando Magic

Buoyed by the rapid success seen from reigning rookie of the year Paolo Banchero and the impressive Franz Wagner, the Magic look like they want to give contention a try again, and adding Siakam would create a versatile, positionless, hard-to-cover frontcourt for the Magic.

Throw in the fact Orlando's president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman was Masai Ujiri’s no. 2 when Toronto first drafted Siakam in 2016, and the interest and constant rumours connecting the Magic with Siakam make a lot of sense.

A deal with Orlando could also make some sense for Toronto, too.

With Orlando drafting Anthony Black sixth overall, they have a glut at point guard, with him, Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs. The Magic just recently guaranteed Fultz’s contract for this season, while Suggs has been only tepid in his first two NBA seasons, with younger, bigger talent now coming up behind him.

Something’s got to give with that situation and the Raptors could take advantage by looking to trade Siakam to Orlando in a deal centred around Suggs, reuniting the 22-year-old Gonzaga product with his childhood friend Barnes and helping to build a young Raptors foundation.

As a bonus, to make such a deal work, it would basically have to include one of Jonathan Isaac or Fultz, with Isaac being the more likely trade candidate because of the presumed importance of Fultz as the stopgap starting point guard before Black is ready to take the reins.

Isaac basically hasn’t played in three seasons, devastated by injuries, but he’s still only 25 years old, is 6-foot-10 with guard skills and can defend multiple positions.

There are a lot of similarities to his game with Siakam’s, but because of injuries he never saw his career blossom like the Raptors forward did. Thus, a chance for Isaac to resurrect his career with Toronto would be rather poetic. The Raptors already know what works for players of his similar kind of skill set, and his age would line up well with a potential youth movement in Toronto.

And if Isaac can’t get healthy and doesn’t work out, that’s fine, too. He isn’t the prize that the Raptors would chasing in the first place.

Gary Harris' expiring contract would probably also need to included in this transaction to make the money work, and there should be first-round picks that are heading back Toronto’s way as well.

Portland Trail Blazers

Before the draft, there was a lot of desire from Raptors fans for the team to make a deal with the Blazers for the third overall pick (which turned out to be Scoot Henderson), using Siakam as the main piece of currency.

That, obviously, didn’t happen, but there’s still a chance that Siakam could end up on Portland, and could be playing alongside Henderson.

One trade idea that’s gained traction recently is a three-way deal between Portland, the Miami Heat and Toronto, with the Raptors entering as a third team to help make Lillard’s reported desire to be traded to Miami happen.

There would need to be a lot more involved, but the basic framework of the deal would see Lillard head to the Heat, Siakam move to the Trail Blazers and Tyler Herro landing with the Raptors.

For Miami, this would be tremendous as they would be acquiring Lillard, one of the game’s great shooters and scorers, and Herro would be a tremendous pick up for the Raptors as he’s just 23, has averaged over 20 points per game in his last two seasons and would help with Toronto’s shooting woes.

This scenario for Portland, on the other hand, isn’t quite as clear cut. Would the Blazers just be looking to acquire Siakam for one season as a sacrifice to potentially load up on draft capital from both Miami and Toronto? That seems like it would be the most logical rationale because Siakam doesn’t look like he would be a good fit timeline-wise with Portland youngsters Henderson and Anfernee Simons.

This is an interesting idea, with a potentially big reward for the Raptors, but it doesn’t entirely line up well for all parties involved.