The Toronto Raptors are speeding towards an inevitable trade at some point in the next few weeks, as a core led by players like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby is starting to hit its ceiling. With free agency looking, the situation just does not seem tenable.
The Raptors have one tremendous star in Scottie Barnes, and his play this year could give them enough hope to believe he can be a top-scoring option for the next decade. Barnes might need more young shooters around him before his style of play can really take off under Darko Rajakovic.
The Indiana Pacers make a ton of sense for both OG and Pascal in trades, as they need one more star alongside Tyrese Haliburton to truly start contending. If they want to pick up either of these two, the latest rumors seem to suggest that one of their young budding stars needs to be sent north of the border.
According to Mike Scotto of HoopsHype, Pacers power forward and 2023 No. 8 pick Jarace Walker could be a player that "could move the needle" in either Anunoby or Siakam talks. Masai Ujiri would be taking yet another big gamble on a promising forward with potential that is through the roof.
The Toronto Raptors could target Pacers' Jarace Walker in Pascal Siakam trade talks.
Walker has barely gotten any rotation minutes, and he has been regarded as a defense-first player going back to his college days at Houston. Walker has proven to be way too good for the G League, however, which is more than can be said for No. 13 pick Gradey Dick.
A Raptors team that hasn't had a ton of success with taking players who can't score and turning them into juggernauts might not be the best spot for Walker, but Ujiri might be too entranced by the prospect of someone with his level of defensive refinement, mobility, and pure power.
Buddy Hield would make sense as a player Toronto can poach in a Pacers trade. With Walker sliding into the vacated spot left by Siakam or Anunoby, the Raptors could potentially have two impactful two-way starters on their rookie contracts in addition to a veteran gunner and some draft picks.
Walker is a work in progress, but even after some of the worst seasons of his tenure with the team, Ujiri is not one to shy away from someone who needs development. Former No. 4 pick Keegan Murray might be off the market, but it appears Walker can be had for the right price.