The Toronto Raptors trading Pascal Siakam is something that would have sounded inconceivable just a few years ago, but the tides have turned so sharply in the other direction that a large chunk of this fanbase will be irritated if such a move isn't made in the next few months.
Siakam's standout show against the Atlanta Hawks is further evidence of his quality as a scorer, and it might get more teams involved with the Raptors openly moving towards a style of basketball built around Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby.
According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, Siakam and the Raptors seem headed for a divorce in the offseason irrespective of what the team does at the deadline. With Barnes starting to emerge as a sensational player and Anunoby sliding in as a role player, Pascal might not be in the cards.
"My understanding currently is that the Raptors are likely to build around the combination of [OG] Anunoby and [Scottie] Barnes, and that Siakam will likely head somewhere willing to pay him this summer," Moore said. The thought of Siakam leaving is now officially more real than ever.
NBA rumors: Pascal Siakam poised to leave Toronto Raptors.
Anunoby would not only be a cheaper option, a younger player, and the better defender of the two, but his expert 3-point shooting makes him a much better fit alongside Barnes. Nights like the Atlanta game are few and far between for Siakam and the rest of this Raptors offense.
Siakam has been linked to the Hawks quite frequently, but the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers have also tried their best to make sure they can get a shot at acquiring the former All-NBA forward. If the Raptors hold on to him, Ujiri can't use the excuse of a slowly developing market.
The Raptors may want to keep Siakam in Toronto in a world where there are no financial obstacles to overcome, but it just makes sense for the team to turn the page and hand the team over to Barnes. Siakam could get a max deal, which would make building a bench impossible.
Siakam's legacy in Toronto is secure. He has his championship ring, and Barnes is becoming the star. No one would fault him for a second if he just took the biggest paycheck or opportunity to score the most points at this stage of his career, and it looks like Toronto can't provide him with either.