The Toronto Raptors may not get the franchise-altering haul they wanted for star forward Pascal Siakam if they make the decision to trade him, but the impressive haul Toronto got for OG Anunoby might make Masai Ujiri more insistent on trying to get a collection of quality players for both the immediate and long-term futures.
Siakam has been shopped around the league, with contenders like the Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings having made some exploratory incursions into the Pascal whirlpool. While many Siakam suitors have faded away, the Indiana Pacers have remained a constant as talks begin to evolve.
Even though the Raptors have had a rough go of it in the last few months, Siakam has continued to produce at a high level on both ends of the floor. If he is going to be moved to Indiana, Ujiri is planting his foot down and asserting that one of the Pacers' best young prospects needs to be in the return package.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Raptors are insistent on acquiring one of either Bennedict Mathurin or Jarace Walker if they are going to trade Siakam to Indiana. These are lofty goals, as Siakam could sign with a team like Indiana in the offseason if he is not traded away.
Toronto Raptors wants Jarace Walker or Bennedict Mathurin for Pascal Siakam.
Walker, who has a style of play that Ujiri would love, hasn't played very much in his rookie season due to veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. Even with Walker's paltry stats, his defensive potential and versatility could be attractive enough for Ujiri to consider parting with Siakam to acquire him.
With Gary Trent Jr. a free agent and Gradey Dick struggling mightily, Mathurin gives Toronto a more proven bench scoring option. While his scoring has dipped to 14.7 points per game from 16.7 per game last year, his efficiency inside and outside the arc has increased.
Wojnarowski reported that Indiana is hesitant to include either of these players, which could lead to talks breaking down if Toronto remains stubborn. While Ujiri did land RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, Indiana might not be willing to give up names like those two for an older expiring player.
The Siakam trade sweepstakes is continuing to soldier onward, as the Raptors seem unwilling to give him a contract extension. With so many teams starting to flake away, the Pacers might be one of the few who could remain engaged if they decide neither Walker nor Mathurin are untouchable.