The Toronto Raptors have been very judicious about splashing the cash in recent years, as they need to save up in order to dole out contracts to some of their big names. Pascal Siakam has already signed an enormous contract, but he could be in line for an even bigger payday down the line.
Siakam is due to make over $35 million in the 2022-23 season and $37 million in the 2023-24 campaign before unrestricted free agency hits. However, contracts are still at the forefront of Masai Ujiri’s mind. Things could get complicated if Siakam replicates his tremendous 2021-22 season.
Siakam made All-NBA by coming percentage points short of a new personal best in scoring per game while setting new benchmarks in rebounds and assists per contest. Siakam is positioned to make a case for an All-NBA selection once again this year. Betting on himself and refusing to sign an extension now may pay off in the long run.
With one more All-NBA season in a year that would help Siakam cross that infamous seven-year threshold, Pascal would become supermax eligible. A Siakam supermax would take up 35% of Toronto’s available cap space. Considering all the players they have to pay, this could be a nightmare.
Pascal Siakam getting a supermax could squeeze the Toronto Raptors.
A hypothetical Fred VanVleet extension is clearly in the back of everyone’s mind, as he could look to once again bet on himself by turning down his player option after this year. Gary Trent Jr. could also hit free agency in the offseason if he declines his player option (he almost certainly will).
The biggest issue relates to Scottie Barnes. If he continues on his upward trajectory, he is going to earn a nine-figure contract that will help allocate more than half of Toronto’s cap space to those two players. This will severely inhibit Ujiri’s ability to pick up solid depth pieces.
While the expectation is that Siakam and Barnes will be good enough to carry the Raptors despite less talent around them by the time the ink dries on their new contracts, it could be more challenging for the squad to keep the starting five they have accumulated over the last few seasons together.
Assuming that Siakam sustains this All-NBA play and Barnes continues to get better, the Raptors should feel more than comfortable moving forward with the two of them as their franchise players. With that comes added responsibility, and it remains to be seen if Pascal can handle it.