The Toronto Raptors have received a reasonably high degree of interest in star power forward Pascal Siakam, but a trade has not yet materialized. The Atlanta Hawks are at least trying very hard to get something done, dangling some very enticing prospects in front of them.
The Hawks have reportedly tried to trade De’Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin, and unspecified draft compensation to the Raptors in exchange for Siakam, but that package has not been able to entice Masai Ujiri into waiving the white flag and giving up Siakam. Ujiri knows Atlanta has more assets to give away.
The Raptors are likely seeking more than just two players and picks, as the Hawks have one particular young asset that is worth bringing to Toronto. Kobe Bufkin profiles as a terrific scorer in the NBA, and the Raptors will likely dig their heels in as they try to swipe him away from Atlanta.
According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, the Raptors strongly considered taking Bufkin with the No. 13 pick before Gradey Dick was eventually the pick. The team is still quite high on him, and he could make the difference if Toronto wants to send Siakam away.
Will the Toronto Raptors get Kobe Bufkin in Pascal Siakam talks?
Bufkin’s best traits are shown off when used as an isolation creator, as he has the speed, feathery shooting touch, and improving passing ability to make his name as a backup guard early on in his career before eventually taking on a featured role as a starter.
While the Raptors will likely expect Scottie Barnes to take on a bigger playmaking role while Dennis Schroder supplements things, adding Bufkin could guard against the idea of Barnes not taking that step forward. Schroder is on a two-year deal, so the Raptors need someone who can handle the ball.
If the Raptors are targeting draft picks in any Siakam deal, adding a player in Bufkin that hasn’t played a single game in the NBA could be the equivalent of acquiring a first-round pick. Getting a player like Hunter with Bufkin might be a nice haul for an expiring contract.
The Hawks likely won’t want to surrender their top draft pick for someone who is still a flight risk, but they could eventually send him away if they sense a contendign window opening and they get desperate. Toronto shouldn’t deal Pascal Siakam unless Bufkin is in the trade.