The 2021 NBA Draft is over with and free agency is quietening down, but trade rumours aren't going anywhere.
According to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Kings have "shown interest" in both Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam. Kings general manager Monte McNair is believed to be looking to "make a major move" as pressure mounts within the organization to win.
It's well known at this point that the 76ers are exploring the market for Simmons. (We looked at potential trade destinations for Simmons here and debated potential trade packages for him here). As for the Raptors and Siakam? Not so much.
Anderson adds that Toronto is receiving numerous calls about Siakam and that Raptor president Masai Ujiri is "listening like a good negotiator."
This isn't the first time Pascal Siakam has been mentioned in trade rumours, right?
On June 28, The Athletic's John Hollinger wrote that there was "a widespread expectation" that the Golden State Warriors would "seek more immediate upgrades to the roster" ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft, and he named Siakam as a player to watch.
On July 24, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported that Siakam was considered "available for trade by sources around the league." Fischer then reported a week later that there had been "an intriguing CJ McCollum-Pascal Siakam trade framework discussed" between the Portland Trail Blazers and Raptors. While talks between the two teams hadn't generated significant momentum, Fischer mentioned that the selection of Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft seemingly reinforced Siakam's availability for trade among rival executives.
Since then, The Athletic's Sam Amick shared on a podcast that the Kings "definitely have interest" in Siakam.
In addition to the Warriors and Kings, the LA Clippers are said to be particularly "enamoured" with Siakam, The Sacramento Bee's Jason Anderson reports.
Siakam's teammate Fred VanVleet had some fun with that.
Me 2 https://t.co/eQfJ1cl5Nm- Fred VanVleet (@FredVanVleet) August 9, 2021
Do we know how Pascal Siakam feels about his current situation?
The Sacramento Bee's Jason Anderson had in his report that Siakam "has no desire to be moved despite the possibility of a rebuilding situation in Toronto."
So there's that.
How do the Toronto Raptors feel about Pascal Siakam?
"Don't put a ton of stock in the rumours," Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said in an interview. "Teams that want him are trying to drum things up.
"We're out here in Las Vegas for Summer League. We sat with him and talked to him for a bit, and that relationship is strong and there's a level of trust both ways.
"Don't read into that stuff as much either, as how we feel internally with Pascal and his role."
Additionally, The Athletic's Sam Amick reported that Ujiri recently made it clear to Siakam's side that "he's not being shopped, and that there's a clear basketball vision here for how these pieces - old and new - can work."
What would a Pascal Siakam trade even look like?
It's hard to know.
Siakam was one of the best stories in 2019-20, earning his first All-Star and All-NBA selection after being named the league's Most Improved Player and playing a key role in the franchise's first-ever championship the season prior, but he struggled in Toronto's second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Siakam got off to a bit of a slow start in 2020-21, but he finished the season strong, averaging 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
Siakam took a step back as a 3-point shooter last season but remains one of the better defenders at his position and has grown tremendously as a creator, both for himself and others. Considering how much he has developed in such a short period of time, it feels safe to assume that he'll continue to improve as he enters his late 20s.
Nekias Duncan and Jackson Frank of Basketball News did a nice job of putting into context how valuable Siakam's skill set is in today's NBA.
Siakam signed a lucrative extension with the Raptors in 2019 and has three more years remaining on his current contract. Per Basketball-Reference, he's slated to make $31.3 million in 2021-22, $33.6 million in 2022-23 and $36.0 million in 2023-24.
Worth noting: Siakam is expected to miss the start of the 2021-22 season after undergoing surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Why would the Raptors consider trading Pascal Siakam?
Siakam is still young - he turned 27 years old not long ago - but the Raptors are in somewhat of a youth movement with OG Anunoby (24), Malachi Flynn (23), Gary Trent Jr. (22), Precious Achiuwa (21) and Barnes (20) each being under the age of 25. Siakam and Anunoby have proven that they can play alongside each other while Flynn, Grent Jr. and Achiuwa each play a different position, but there is somewhat of an overlap with him and Barnes.
Perhaps the Raptors think they'd be better off in the long run giving Barnes and some of the younger players on their roster Siakam's reps. The Raptors could probably get another prospect or two in return for Siakam if they were to trade him.
Alternatively, it's been reported that the Raptors have interest in Ben Simmons themselves. It sounds like the 76ers are asking for a lot in return for Simmons, but the Raptors could build quite an appealing trade package around Siakam. And if the 76ers weren't interested in Siakam, it's not hard to imagine him being the centrepiece of a deal for another star should they become available.
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