The Toronto Raptors are teetering on the edge of a full-scale rebuild based on names like Scottie Barnes and 2023 rookie Gradey Dick. If Masai Ujiri wants to admit defeat with his current core and start over, Pascal Siakam will assuredly need to be traded for a franchise-altering haul.
The potential deal faces quite a few roadblocks. On top of the fact that Siakam only has one year left on his contract before he can hit free agency, he has signaled a general unwillingness to sign a long-term extension with any teams who tries to trade for him.
The Raptors won’t trade Siakam if they are unable to get back an adequate return for one of the best forwards in the game, but Ujiri’s desire for a clean slate might supersede his wishes of becoming a contender with the current loadout of players. A trade is coming, according to some in the know.
According to longtime NBA insider Mark Medina, training Siakam appears to be “inevitable” for the Raptors. Medina believes that Toronto will ask for a haul of expiring contracts, draft picks, and rotation players in order to get their rebuild kicked off in earnest.
NBA rumors: Insider says Toronto Raptors will trade Pascal Siakam.
Siakam and the Atlanta Hawks have been linked for quite some time, as they have young players like Kobe Bufkin and AJ Griffin that could appeal to Toronto in a potential return package. However, the links between the two seemed to have died down while the offseason dragged on.
Calling Siakam anything less than a Top 25 player in this league is disrespectful at this point, and teams trying to trade for him like he is not a player in that elite tier should be rebuffed by the Raptors. Siakam could make a difference for any team trying to chase a championship.
Suppose the Raptors can end up with at least one unprotected first-round pick, a former Top 20 pick on a team-friendly controllable deal, and a veteran who can contribute to the rotation immediately. In that case, that could be spun as a solid haul, given the contract situation around Siakam.
While trading Siakam would mean the end of an era (and also deprive the Raptors of the best player they will likely have in the next three seasons), it might be a necessity if Ujiri wants to wipe the slate clean and build them from the ground up once more.