2023-07-31 · 0 min read · NBA/Basketball
Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images | Getty Images

Few teams in the league find themselves at a crossroads like the Toronto Raptors right now.  A team coming off of a vastly disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs for just the second time in 9 seasons, and making matters worse, they lost their starting point guard and emotional leader Ferd VanVleet in free agency.
Many that follow the team are pushing for a rebuild, begging the question of what to do with star forward Pascal Siakam moving into next season.  The problem is, Siakam is under contract until the end of next year, at which time he’ll be eligible for a supermax contract.
Paying a player that isn't top 20 in the league that kind of money is a major risk, but on the flip side, losing yet another star in free agency for nothing would be a huge blow in terms of asset management.
The case can certainly be made that he’s more than worth a max deal.  At just 29 years of age, his numbers are staggering.  Last season he had monster averages of 24.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 5.8 apg.  He’s also an above-average defender and shoots better than 30% from 3.
But the counter is that if Siakam is your best player, you’re probably destined to be a middle-of-the-pack team at best, and he’s better suited as a 2nd or 3rd option.  The other problem is, he essentially plays the same position as young star Scottie Barnes, and many believe that Barnes’ full potential won’t be unlocked as long as Siakam is around dominating the ball.
Toronto has yet to indicate which way they are leaning.
If they come to the conclusion that they’d rather not give him the money, then trading him this summer becomes crucial. As mentioned, this franchise can’t afford to lose another asset for nothing.
But Masai Ujiri is notorious for being stubborn in trade talks, and at times overvaluing his players.  Further complicating things is his contract situation because a lot of teams aren’t ready to open up the war chest for a guy that comes off the books and can walk after one season.
All this is to say, Toronto may not get full value for him at this point, and that's something Ujiri and the management team might have no choice but to come to grips with.
Atlanta has been linked to Siakam in trade rumors, as has Indiana, Orlando, and Portland to name a few.  There are certainly some young exciting players in that group of teams that the Raptors could bring aboard to pair with Barnes in a rebuild.
The question is, does Masai have the guts to do what so many can see is the right path?  Only time will tell.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Eddie Huband


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