Toronto has been circling centers for some time. There were discussions regarding a Sabonis-Pascal Siakam swap, but those negotiations stalled, sources said. The Raptors were closely monitoring Andre Drummond’s situation in Cleveland prior to last season’s deadline, and were lurking in the background of Jarrett Allen’s free agency last summer.
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One source said the Kings are still shopping a package including Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III in hopes of getting a good player in return. Sources told The Bee over the summer the Kings had expressed interest in the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam.
Is Pascal available for trade, or is he untouchable? Other than Scottie Barnes, who are the untouchables? — Frank S. Eric Koreen: Siakam’s not untouchable. Barnes is untouchable, and Anunoby is probably close. But let’s go beyond that. Siakam still seems to be one of the more confusing parts of this season. I think it’s genuinely difficult to separate his performance from the team’s struggles (and his in the past), given how this team is constructed and how unhealthy the Raptors currently are. His true shooting percentage is higher than it has been since his breakout third season when he won NBA Most Improved Player. It’s still a lot closer to the two years that came after — which included one season in which he was named All-NBA Second Team — than that one, but it is progress. His 3-point percentage is up to 36, but he continues to take fewer per minute, down from 6.2 per 36 in 2019-20 to 3.8 this year. Given his struggles last season, that is understandable. His usage percentage is slightly down from last season, as are his assists. His turnovers are slightly up, which is a worry but a minor one. The Raptors aren’t exactly swimming in spacing.
In short: Siakam is good. Where does that leave his value? Well, he’s worth his deal in the sense that if the Raptors didn’t give it to him, someone else would have. His salary is outpacing his production at the moment, but not by such a degree that you would call the contract a franchise albatross. The league is in an interesting place. There is a wider cast of contenders to win a title than usual, which should make those teams more aggressive at the deadline. As mentioned above, we’ve already seen Siakam as an integral part of a championship team. I’m not predicting a trade, because those are hard to make — especially when a player is making $33 million this season. Still, I’d be surprised if there doesn’t wind up being a few interesting offers for Siakam before the trade deadline, and particularly in the offseason.
If the Blazers cannot acquire Simmons, Pascal Siakam would be another great addition to the team. A lot of the same arguments for acquiring Simmons such as the defensive versatility he brings and lineup configurations he allows can be applied to Siakam. It also helps that both players earn identical salaries, allowing the Blazers to put together a similar package for Siakam.
The draft compensation involved in any eventual Simmons trade figures to be a difference-making variable, but the Raptors have the base talent to outbid numerous teams (if they choose) when Philadelphia finally reaches the point that it concedes it is no longer tenable to hold out for a star on Lillard’s or Beal’s level. Rather than pursue a swap centered around Pascal Siakam, it is easier to see Philadelphia trying to push to acquire a rising star capable of replicating Simmons’ versatility — namely OG Anunoby — who can be packaged with a playoff-tested veteran ballhandler to give the Sixers’ backcourt a needed boost (Goran Dragić).
With the understanding that things can change — it’s a business, things can change with you, things change with the organization — as we sit here right now, do you see yourself in Toronto long term? Pascal Siakam: I do. I’m a really prideful person and I always want to be the best player that I can be, and the bubble wasn’t that. So I get it, I understand it, but also for me what really hurt me is one of those things about my dad or like, “Oh, your dad wouldn’t have been proud of this.” [Siakam’s father died in a car accident in 2014.]
Was there any irritation from you toward the Raptors that your name was surfacing so much in trade rumors? Pascal Siakam: It didn’t bother me really, because I never really heard anything from the Raptors. Even all the news I was seeing it was never like: “Oh. The Raptors wanted to give up Siakam for this.” It was always like, “The Warriors like Pascal,” or it was always, “The Kings like Pascal,” or this. There was never nothing where it was like, “The Raptors wanted to give away Pascal.”
Kings general manager Monte McNair is determined to make a big move as the franchise seeks to end its 15-year playoff drought, sources said. The Kings have also shown interest in Toronto Raptors All-Star Pascal Siakam, but Siakam isn’t seeking a trade and the Raptors are unlikely to move him, a source with knowledge of the situation in Toronto told The Bee.
Pascal Siakam has been the subject of trade rumors following the Raptors‘ disappointing season, but the fifth-year forward isn’t looking to be moved, agent Todd Ramasar said in an NBC Sports podcast. “That’s the last thing on his mind,” Ramasar said. “… He loves it there. Yes. He won a championship. … That’s never come from us that there’s a change … Because of the pandemic, because the Raptors missed the playoffs, there’s been a lot of speculation around (about a trade), but it’s not because of Pascal or anything he’s said. Or even the organization. I think that’s just the chatter that picks up going into an offseason.”
Siakam is currently rehabbing from that operation and Ramasar expects him to reach an All-Star level again. Also, his agent wants to remove any distractions that trade rumors might be causing. “First of all, it’s about understanding when it is purely speculation as opposed to there being some substance to that, right? Is there traction to those rumors?” Ramasar said. “It starts with having good communication and a great relationship with the team and management, and communication. And it’s understanding that, because this is a business, at any point you can be traded… But in this situation, knowing that it was more so speculation than anything else, it’s having those conversations with the client. It’s also the team reassuring the player, in this case Pascal, and then you move forward and stay in control of the things you have control over.”
Do the Raptors actually want to move Siakam? Based on conversations with several people close to the situation in Vegas, I’d venture to say no — at least for now. They will continue to listen to the calls that come their way, which is no different from what the recently re-signed Masai Ujiri (now president and vice chairman) and general manager Bobby Webster have always done.
But in stark contrast to the Ben Simmons situation in Philadelphia or the Damian Lillard saga in Portland, it appears there is no uncomfortableness or pressure on the Siakam front, in large part, because sources say he still wants to be in Toronto, especially after being away for a season while playing in Tampa. And yes, for the many people who wondered, that remains the case even after the Raptors drafted Scottie Barnes fourth overall and then said goodbye to Kyle Lowry in free agency (via sign-and-trade to Miami).
As longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein indicated recently, the Barnes pick did indeed compel executives to wonder if the Raptors would now be more willing to move Siakam and his max deal (three seasons, $106 million remaining). But sources say Ujiri has recently made it clear to Siakam’s side that he’s not being shopped, and that there’s a clear basketball vision here for how these pieces — old and new — can work. Nonetheless, the combination of the changing Raptors landscape and that well-chronicled friction with coach Nick Nurse last season had led many to believe Siakam’s days were numbered there.
Multiple sources tell The Sacramento Bee the Kings have shown interest in both Ben Simmons and Pascal Siakam, the two most prominent names linked to Sacramento since the trade and free agency frenzy began. Some remain skeptical the Kings can pull off that kind of deal, but McNair wants to make an impact move as pressure to win begins to build within the organization 11 months after he was hired, sources said.
Outside the organization, there is a perception that Sacramento’s new front office is already “feeling the heat” from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.
A source with knowledge of the situation in Toronto said the Raptors are receiving numerous calls about Siakam and team president Masai Ujiri is “listening like a good negotiator.” The Kings, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers are said to be particularly “enamored” with Siakam. A trade is possible, but not likely, the source said, adding Siakam has no desire to be moved despite the possibility of a rebuilding situation in Toronto.
NBA Central: The Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers are reportedly ‘enamored’ with Pascal Siakam, per @Jason Anderson pic.twitter.com/ILhIPVxG9O
Morgan Ragan: According to @sam_amick , the Kings definitely have interest in Pascal Siakam.
There has also been an intriguing CJ McCollum-Pascal Siakam trade framework discussed between Portland and Toronto, though talks between the teams have yet to generate significant momentum, sources said. Rival executives believe the Raptors’ selection of Scottie Barnes seemingly reinforces Siakam’s availability for trade.
Toronto’s surprise selection of Scottie Barnes with the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday’s draft over Jalen Suggs immediately convinced some rival teams that the Raptors’ appetite for trading Pascal Siakam will only grow after Siakam’s tumultuous season while the Raptors were forced to play in Tampa.
An interesting aspect of the Watson hire could be how it impacts Pascal Siakam. Watson has many connections to Siakam’s camp and this could be a case of adding a solid coach who also has that tie. Watson starred at UCLA on teams that also featured one of Siakam’s agents, Todd Ramasar, and Rico Hines, a player development coach with the Sacramento Kings who also has spent multiple summers working hard on Siakam’s game in Los Angeles, with obvious results. Watson has been at some of those runs.
As is always the case ahead of the NBA draft and free agency, the rumour mill has been churning, including with some unverified talk that Toronto has been looking to move Siakam. Maybe we’re reaching here and in four days this will look like a wild take, but bringing in Watson doesn’t seem like an addition a team looking to deal Siakam would make.
Toronto, for example, could offer a package centered on the No. 4 selection and Pascal Siakam, who’s considered available for trade by sources around the league. The Raptors have been categorized as one of the most active teams in predraft trade chatter, exploring all avenues from swapping their pick in a deal for an All-Star such as Beal or Damian Lillard to trading back and recouping more draft capital to embrace a post-Kyle Lowry rebuild.
Golden State assured itself of an additional first-round pick when Minnesota failed to land in the top three on lottery night. The Warriors now have the seventh and 14th picks plus last year’s second overall pick, James Wiseman, and there is a widespread expectation that the Warriors will use No. 7 and Wiseman, in particular, to seek more immediate upgrades to the roster. One name to watch: Pascal Siakam.
What does this have to do with the Warriors? Well, Siakam is somebody that has been discussed as a potential trade candidate. So on one hand, this injury makes you wonder if Golden State will be more reluctant to go after him. But on the flip side, perhaps the Warriors wouldn’t have to give up as much to acquire him. You can make a strong argument for both sides. Conventional wisdom suggests that Andrew Wiggins — who is from the Toronto area — almost certainly would be involved in any potential deal. But Wiggins just completed the best all-around season of his career, and there is reason to believe he will be even better once Klay Thompson returns.
Through six games, he’s hovering around the same sort of production (17.6 points, 40.7%) but is it concerning enough, this early, for the Raptors to ship Siakam to Houston in exchange for Harden? “You look at Pascal and that’s the guy on your roster that makes the most sense,” Windhorst said. “The other challenge is with the way the roster has actually been put together, I think they have seven players that they’re not allowed to trade until February or March. So, it’s not like that difficult to figure out what a Raptors offer would be. I’m sure it would have to be Siakam. I would guess the Rockets want Malachi Flynn and then you’re looking at multiple first-round draft picks into the future, probably lightly protected or unprotected. “That’s a big bite, especially because you’re looking at that – you trade away Siakam, you’re looking at really depleting your frontcourt, you’re going to be backcourt-heavy, you’re going to need some people back there so it requires other transactions.”
“I did say it would take a really horrible flameout for the Toronto Raptors for Pascal Siakam to even be in the conversation, “Haberstroh said with a smile.”And it looks like this isn’t Siakam’s best postseason and I think it’s increased the odds, very low odds, of Siakam perhaps being on his way out of Toronto. I still think it’s a long-shot, but it is definitely better than it was [before].”
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June 28, 2022 | 5:31 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac has agreed on a three-year, $33 million extension, his agents Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of @excelbasketball tell ESPN. The Clippers declined his $7.5M team option for 2022-2023, clearing the way for Zubac’s new deal.
Law Murray: Source confirms to @Theathletic that LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac is getting a raise. 3-year, $33 million. @Wojespn first. No options, fully guaranteed, hits market 2025. Not trade eligible this offseason. Longest-tenured Clipper returns as unquestioned starting center.
Tim Cato: I’ll add to the chorus: the Mavericks have had a belief for at least the past couple weeks, multiple sources tell me, that Jalen Brunson would sign with the Knicks. at this point, it’s seen as a certainty.
James Edwards III: Sources: The Pistons will not pick up the team options of Frank Jackson, Luka Garza and Carsen Edwards. Additionally, Detroit’s two two-way guys are Braxton Key and Buddy Boeheim, so Jamorko Pickett no longer holds one of those spots.
Matthew Tynan: Spurs have announced their Summer League roster. Joshua Primo, Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley will all be in Las Vegas.
The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard James Bouknight underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair a tendon in his fifth digit on his right hand. The surgery was performed by Dr. Brandon Valentine at Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital in consultation with Hornets team physician Dr. Marcus Cook. Bouknight will not participate in the 2022 NBA Summer League.
Marc Stein: Yet I can unreservedly say that this old newspaper nerd is absolutely entranced by this platform and all of its possibilities … as much as I miss the honor of seeing my words printed on the NYT’s pages. I can honestly say, with gratitude and relief, that I thought I would miss the printed word more. It doesn’t torment me nearly as much as I anticipated when I see a Times rack and know that there is a zero percent chance that I have a story on those pages. I’m too busy trying to map out what to write next and when to print it to best connect with my loyal (and patient) readers, whose faith and support make it possible for me to cover the league as an independent journalist. All the costs attached to proprietary reporting — like travel, health care, etc. — fall almost fully on me now, so the assistance is vital in helping me produce the best possible content.