The Toronto Raptors have had an abysmal start to this season with a record of 2-7. From their lack of a true center to the roster as a whole struggling to play as a cohesive unit, the Raptors are in trouble and need to make a significant change. However, Pascal Siakam has been the center of attention for the Raptors regarding whom to blame. He has received multiple accusations of him being the reason why Toronto has had a terrible start. It became so bad that I had to ask NBA fans on social media whether or not Toronto should trade their future franchise player and most votes said yes. While a rebuild is not a bad option for this organization to consider, let’s dive into whether or not Toronto should consider trading away Pascal Siakam and entertain the idea of which organizations should consider trading for him.
Since the 2014 season, the Toronto Raptors have consistently made the NBA playoffs and eventually would win a championship in 2019. In the 2010s, Toronto has been successful and possessed some of the most iconic teams the NBA had to offer. However, the Raptors face an unfortunate decline as players have either been traded, left in free agency, or have aged out. For instance, Kyle Lowry is currently 34-years-old and is headed into free-agency as an unrestricted free agent. This essentially means that he will most likely not return to Canada. Kyle Lowry’s potential departure should be a clear indicator that the Raptors need to enter the 2020’s as a rebuilding team and not an organization that deems itself on competing for a title. However, trading away Pascal Siakam is not the solution to fix their terrible start to the season.
After winning their first championship in 2019, Siakam has experienced much pressure to become the next Kawhi Leonard or even DeMar DeRozan of this team without really developing at all. DeRozan was drafted in 2009 and only made a real impact in the playoffs in 2016. While Kawhi’s run to the NBA finals was incredible, he also had finals experience as a starter and started his career with one of the most successful franchises in sports history being the San Antonio Spurs. Siakam is a different player and was perhaps rushed into being the next hero of Toronto.
Even though Siakam hasn’t been as efficient as he once was in 2019, he is only 26-years-old and still has time to develop into something special in the NBA. However, if the Raptors want to succeed with Siakam and even win a second championship, they need to build through the draft and develop assets to trade for other All-Star caliber players in the NBA. With that being said, let’s entertain the idea of the possibility of Pascal Siakam traded away.
The teams selected are based on who has the best assets for Toronto to rebuild with and not contend. Even though trading for James Harden would increase their chances of making the playoffs, the teams were selected with the assumption that the Raptors would trade Siakam to rebuild.
The Phoenix Suns Throw Their Lottery Streak Into The Fire.
After Attaining Chris Paul for virtually nothing, the Phoenix Suns have instantly appeared as a playoff contender, making that trade a huge success. Chris Paul alone has managed to transform the Phoenix Suns into a top-three seed currently in the Western Conference, which was something no one speculated. However, as good as they have been, the Phoenix Suns are nowhere near a championship-contending team but can be as they have the assets to make a significant upgrade. From their young assets, valuable draft picks, and relatively large contracts that can compensate for Siakam’s contract, the Phoenix Suns have a chance to trade for a power forward.
With Pascal Siakam being open to trade, the Phoenix Suns would offer Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric, and two future unprotected first-round picks in exchange for Pascal Siakam and Patrick McCaw. Even though that may appear to be an underpay for an All-Star caliber player, the draft picks and development of Cameron Johnson is the main reason for this trade. Also, Dario Saric is a fantastic role player, while Jae Crowder is a solid defensive wing with trade value that the Raptors could use for other future assets. Toronto would officially start a rebuild while the Phoenix Suns would finally construct a roster well enough to compete for the NBA championship.
The San Antonio Raptors?
In the 2018 NBA off-season, the Toronto Raptors traded away their franchise player for Kawhi Leonard. Fast forward to the present day, and the Toronto Raptors could potentially make another blockbuster trade that would pair Pascal Siakam with Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan! The proposed trade that could go down would consist of LaMarcus Aldridge, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV and 2024 and 2026 unprotected first-round picks in exchange for Pascal Siakam.
This trade provides Toronto with two young pupils who have already shown great talent and potential while also possessing LaMarcus Aldridge. Toronto would have a mixture of young and old talent, which would still make them fairly competitive in the Eastern Conference but not enough to make an impact in the playoffs. The San Antonio Spurs become competitive in the Western Conference as they would form a temporary big three of Dejounte Murray, DeMar DeRozan and Pascal Siakam. However, the real prize for this trade in San Antonio’s perspective would be the future duo of Pascal Siakam and Dejounte Murray.
The Crown Is Restored In Sacramento.
If someone asked me what the most irrelevant NBA organization is, it would easily be the Sacramento Kings. Despite their young talent and potential, the Sacramento Kings have failed to make a real attempt at contending for a playoff spot. The last time this organization made the NBA playoffs was in 2006, which was 14 years ago! The Kings have been so dreadful that they have become a lottery team every season since 2006 and still managed to continue this streak.
However, with the potential trade availability of Pascal Siakam, their playoff drought could come to an end. Sacramento holds various young talents that have the potential to become efficient role players or even future All-Stars. With the Kings having a terrible track record in developing talent, the Toronto Raptors are the complete opposite as they are the perfect hub for developing players. From Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted, to Kyle Lowry, a late first-round pick and was traded for scraps, the Raptors are well known for developing no-name players into key rotational players or even All-Stars!
The Kings possess a lot of young talent and valuable draft picks, making them the best suitor for Toronto to target in the NBA. The proposed offer would consist of, Marvin Bagley III, Tyrese Haliburton, Hassan Whiteside, and two future second-round picks in exchange for Pascal Siakam. This trade benefits both organizations as the Raptors get significantly younger with Tyrese Haliburton and Marvin Bagley III. At the same time, the Sacramento Kings finally form a playoff-contending roster. The inclusion of Hassan Whiteside is the cherry on top as the Raptors would receive a starting-caliber center, which is currently their weakest position.
While the Raptors have had a rocky start to this season, trading away, Pascal Siakam is still a terrible idea. Even though some of these trades may upgrade certain positions and even provide depth, none of the players proposed above could match Siakam’s production. The real issue with Pascal Siakam is confidence as the NBA bubble must have hit him harder than anticipated. His struggles to score the basketball have haunted him, and his whirling dervish playstyle needs to change. With that said, I think that Toronto should consider trading for a more reliable center such as Hassan Whiteside or Tristan Thompson. Their center position is weak and needs improvement if this team wants to pursue another playoff appearance in their franchise history. If not, then tanking for a lottery pick is not a terrible option either.