After the departure of Kyle Lowry and the selection of Scottie Barnes, some basketball talking heads declared the 2021-22 season prematurely over for the Toronto Raptors. With Toronto retooling rather than gunning for a championship, rumors of a Pascal Siakam trade have continued to sprout up.
The selection of Barnes prompted some to believe that Siakam, who still is owed a tremendous amount of money next year despite a slight statistical downturn, is on his way out of town. These people must be forgetting that Siakam has been one of the best power forwards in the game over the last few seasons.
With more than enough depth and quality to make a run at the postseason, teams in that spot very rarely choose to offload their best player with the goal of starting a full-scale rebuild. The Raptors won’t buck that trend just yet, as Siakam appears ready to suit up for Toronto this season.
Sam Amick of The Athletic is reporting that not only does Siakam want to stay in Toronto, but Masai Ujiri has told Siakam’s camp that he is unwilling to shop him to rival teams. Siakam will remain a fixture in Toronto for the foreseeable future if Ujiri is to be believed.
Pascal Siakam will stay with the Toronto Raptors.
Siakam’s scoring went down, but his field goal percentage and rebounds were almost identical, and he set a new career-high in assists. While he is hampered with a shoulder injury, he figured to once again lead the team in scoring as Toronto tries to get younger thanks to the likes of Barnes.
GM Bobby Webster believes that the Siakam rumors may have been more wishful thinking by teams like the Kings, Warriors, and Clippers, as he singled those teams out as trying to “drum up interest” for a Siakam deal where none existed.
With a quote like that, it sounds like Webster never even entertained the idea of parting ways with No. 43.
Siakam is not a perfect player, and there are reasons to wonder about his fit next to Barnes, but the Raptors were able to mold a raw kid out of New Mexico State into one of the best in the game at what he does, and to just give up on that to start a rebuild at an inopportune time would be the height of irresponsibility.
When he returns from his shoulder issue, look for Pascal to resume his usual duties of scoring with ease inside, handling the ball, and defending multiple positions. Swapping out such a tantalizing package for whatever is in the mystery box in a trade can officially be ruled out.