The Toronto Raptors found themselves stuck in multiple trade rumor sagas in the offseason, as studs like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam were thought to be available for a team lacking direction. Nick Nurse’s Philadelphia 76ers found themselves entangled in discussions around James Harden, albeit for different reasons.
Because Harden quit on the Rockets and quit on the Nets, he moved on to quitting on the 76ers, calling Daryl Morey a “liar” and vowing never to play for Philly again. Because the NBA is so star-driven, a third team has now caved to his wishes and sent him to his top destination, the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers acquired Harden and PJ Tucker for a package of draft picks and bench players that included Marcus Morris, KJ Martin, and Nic Batum. The fact Philly was able to get this much depth for a negative asset who starts trouble everywhere he goes should be a wake-up call for the Raptors.
If they are serious about starting over and conducting a proper rebuild, they don’t have to wait until the trade deadline to do it. Teams will pay a hefty price for the unextended Siakam, perhaps even more than they would have in the offseason if Harden’s return is going to set a standard.
Toronto Raptors must consider Pascal Siakam trade after James Harden news.
Harden may still be a slightly better point guard than Siakam is a power forward at this stage of his career, but this deal continues to show how inflated the trade market is. Even a serial quitter with an expiring contract can get a draft pick haul from a team with almost no draft picks.
Siakam is younger, more versatile, and not regarded as someone who can upset the entire balance of the locker room whenever he feels like it. If Toronto wants to make a move, as the situation they have right now is not tenable, they have an opportunity to make a move.
The Clippers are a desperate team that made a desperate move for Harden, which led them to basically give away their whole bench for him. They’re not the only ones who want to make a win-now move that badly, which could help a half-dozen Siakam suitors sprout up.
Siakam is a better asset than Harden, and switchable defenders that can score 20 points a game will always be in demand. If Masai wants to move on to the Scottie Barnes era, it might be now or never to make a move.