Just when it looked like the Toronto Raptors were out of the proverbial woods with regard to the whole Pascal Siakam trade fiasco, the latest buzz has once again brought up the Atlanta Hawks as a team trying everything they can to figure out how to acquire him.
The Hawks tried to send over a package centered around De’Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin, and draft picks, but it did not meet Toronto’s asking price. The Raptors might be eyeing guard Kobe Bufkin, who the Hawks just drafted, but Atlanta seems unwilling to make him available.
According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Hawks are unwilling to include Bufkin in any Siakam deal. The Hawks seem to believe the 2023 No. 15 pick can be a long-term backup to Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, and that isn’t worth surrendering for one year of Siakam.
While Scotto did mention that Bufkin is off the market, he did single out Bogdan Bogdanovic, who helped Serbia win a silver medal in the 2023 FIBA World Cup after losing to Dennis Schroder, as a player that could end up going to Toronto if this trade starts up again.
NBA rumors: Toronto Raptors not getting Kobe Bufkin for Pascal Siakam
Bufkin showed that he could be a Dennis Schroder-esque score-first point guard in the NBA, provided he adds weight and takes that efficiency up just a notch. Bufkin’s best games at Michigan made it look like he was a much better pro prospect than Jett Howard, who was drafted ahead of him by the Magic.
With Young and Murray locked in as the starting backcourt for the next few years, it makes sense for Toronto to inquire about how strongly the team is committed to Bufkin. However, Atlanta seems unwilling to offload all of their young talent to go all-in for 2023.
Getting Bogdanovic would be a tremendous addition to this Raptors bench. Still, Masai Ujiri is (correctly) insisting on either draft capital or controllable young players that could become long-term building blocks. Bufkin would certainly check the latter box if he were available.
Bufkin in the Raptors’ backcourt would have been quite the nice consolation price for losing a player like Siakam. Instead of welcoming him to town, the Raptors will likely be totally fine with keeping Siakam in town and rolling with their current starting lineup.