The Bitter Fantasy of Trading Pascal Siakam: Three Ideal Trades for the Toronto Raptors

If Pascal Siakam must go, here are three trade proposals that, admittedly, are a bit desirous, but not outrageous.

The idea of trading Pascal Siakam saddens me.

He is everything you want in an NBA player. A humble character of Homeric feats. A relentless, hardworker. A soft-spoken NBA All-Star. A, seemingly, forgotten NBA champion. And, the best player on a team maybe finally getting it’s shit together.

It just doesn’t feel right. I mean look at this introspection.

And, for the record, personal feelz aside, I still don’t think trading Pascal is going to happen nor a good idea. At least not right now. Neither does guest writer, Ryan Grosman. This team might just have its core after all.

But if it is inevitable. And, if we must suffer, hour-to-hour, all this discordant conjecture – Shams Charania reporting the Sacramento Kings interest in Pascal Siakam, then disinterest like he’s running around a playground tattling on everyone with cooties perfectly illustrates our need to rid media of these middlepeople – then we must partake in its fullest. For sanity’s sake.

Also, no offence to everyone who has proposed Pascal Siakam trades to date, but they’re all the same. Minor variances, but the same nonetheless. That’s no fun; nor creative; nor enticing.

Pragmatism is for bureaucrats and miners. The rest of us should live to dream. Not that these proposals are fantasy. They are tethered to the realm of plausibility; they happen to float a bit in to the idyllic too.

Finally, a few factors to keep in mind:

  1. Contract Extension: In all these trades, I presume Pascal and his representatives have “handshook” on an off-season extension.
  2. Draft Picks: These are always hard to assess. If the foundation of the trade strikes your fancy, squabble not with the draft stuff. Add or subtract them and the years and the restrictions as you see fit.
  3. Masai Mind: We must operate within the confines of Masai’s philosophy. If this is a youth movement, it’s for proven, cheap players, not future picks.
  4. Scottie Barnes or Bust: If the players coming back do not fit Scottie Barnes in style and timeline and vibes, I send them back.

TRADE #1: Saving an Aging Champion

Golden State Warriors: Pascal Siakam, Otto Porter Jr.

Utah Jazz: Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Chris Paul, two Golden State First Round Picks, one Toronto First Round Pick

Toronto Raptors: Lauri Markkanen, John Collins

Why Utah

This one depends on Danny Ainge and his assessment of the team. If he feels the rebuild misaligned, with Markkanen a bit older – he’s 27 in May – than the rest of the youth movement, the Jazz may exchange him for multiple future parts. With Moody, Kuminga, and picks, the Jazz get multiple looks at potential fits alongside Keyonte George and Walker Kessler.

Why Golden State

No brainer here. They’ve looked a shell of their Championship contending selves. Steph has had two 0 three-point nights this season out of 41 in his entire career. Klay continues to deteriorate. Andrew Wiggins has regressed. And their second best player is an unrestrained, unrepentant Mickey Rourke.

Fittingly, their demolishing by Toronto on Sunday was reminiscent of the same hollow foreboding the Raptors reeked of merely a week ago. Like the Raptors, an influx of skill, depth, and championship experience could be just the rejuvenation Golden State desperately needs.

Why Toronto

Lauri Markkanen might be Scottie Barnes’ ideal complement incarnate. He’s most everything Pascal is (minus the spin-o-rama-dama-ding-dongs): tall, versatile, handsome, self-creating. He’s also an elite three-point shooter – 39% on 8 attempts a game. A rarity for someone of his height (7’0″).

Lauri falls short of Pascal in defensive versatility (though, he avoids foul trouble) and passing. He averages only 1.8 assists a game and is in the 9th percentile for assist:usage ratio among forwards. Hence, his pairing with ScottieVision.

He’s also on a very team-friendly deal ($17 million this year and $18 million in 2024/25), but will demand the maximum soon. Regardless, it kicks the Raptors current financial quandary down the road a year, giving them ample time to assess the roster.

John Collins is what, some, might call a “toxic asset” (I abhor the term; Coach Thorpe, who I respect, a lot, used it recently on his TrueHoop podcast to refer to RJ Barrett. Not nice. Not correct[?]). In other words, he’s overpaid: a hardworking, three-point shooting 37% from three on 3 attempts…salary filler.

Why it Won’t Work

Masai and Ainge negotiations probably like two Alpine Ibex battling for mountain supremacy. They’d rather MATD – Mutually Assured Trade Destruction – than lose. Someone – namely, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami, or Golden State themselves – might come over the top too.

TRADE #2: A Boon to a Sudden Contender

Oklahoma City Thunder: Pascal Siakam, Otto Porter Jr., Zach Collins

San Antonio Spurs: Josh Giddey, Aleksej Pokusevski, Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, Two OKC First Round Picks

Toronto Raptors: Keldon Johnson, Kenrich Willliams, Davis Bertans, OKC First Round Pick (lesser than the Spurs)

Why Oklahoma City

The Thunder have surprised all with their sudden Western Conference ascension. Something to savour, but also be wary. Just ask the Memphis Grizzlies [oof, poor Ja, Man!], Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and others. Championship Windows are fleeting, Championships so very, very rare. Thus, OKC should do what they must now. They have an MVP candidate. They have the picks. They have the prospects. And they can get whatever they want without pawning their entire future.

This is an ultimate trade for the Thunder. They get off the dead money of Davis Bertans, give up on the least fitting of the young core, Josh Giddey, consolidate their prospects, and beef up. Pascal and Otto are championship veterans who know both how to assert themselves and defer in the most butt-cheek clenching moments. Integral to such a juvenile group of talent.

Zach Collins is a banger, but a talented one. He’s a thoughtful passer, hard rebounder, and versatile – an important combination playing alongside the All-Star candidate, bean-pole extraordinaire, Chet Holmgren.

Why San Antonio

Victor Wembanyama needs help and needs a point guard. Enter Josh Giddey. At 20, Giddey is already a passing maestro – 95th percentile in assist percentage for forwards. His size and ability to stride through defences make him an enticing Wemby partner. What he lacks in quickness and perimeter shooting, Wemby makes up for with a wingspan covering half the universe and deep shooting range.

It’s a risk. Giddey has struggled to score efficiently this year (24th percentile in effective field goal percentage for forwards) and not justified an increase usage as starting point guard. Still, he’s young and, likely, been distracted by off-court accusations and, perhaps, the feeling of being left behind the rest of the Thunder Gang.

Tre Mann is an enticing scoring guard who has been the odd man out in Oklahoma City. He’s 23, in need of a reset, and worth the look for a team building from the ground up.

Poku AND Wemby!? Nothing more needs to be said.

Why Toronto

I’ll admit, Keldon Johnson is not the ideal fit with BBQ. He’s an inefficient scoring guard/wing with a shaky three. Though, he is in the 76th percentile for drawing shooting fouls and having his best high-usage years at-rim and from three by a small margin.

What makes Keldon a true fit is his age (24), his size (a beefy 6’6″; Big Box Store Ass like Kyle Lowry), his position (a bigger attacking wing/guard), and his salary (cost-controlled for three more years with a regressing contract of $19 million, $17.5 million, $17.5 million).

The hope (re: gamble) is that Keldon surrounded by better playmakers and with less of an offensive burden, finds greater efficiency as he continues to mature alongside Scottie and Company.

Oklahoma City would be reluctant to throw Kenrich Williams in a trade. Kenny Hustle has found a natural home in Oklahoma City and it’s a bad look for a franchise to ship players vocally expressing their desire to stay (NON-SUBTLE HINT, MASAI!). In Toronto, he’ll be equally well-received as the no-nonsense, hardnosed, selfless, reliable roleplayer – he has the third best net rating among bench players playing at least 10 games and 15 minutes a game in the League. Platooning him, Keldon, and Boucher is putting this team on Bruise Control.

Bertans is a skinny, tall, sharpshooter and a very large contract filler.

Why it Won’t Work

One of four reasons. Oklahoma City hasn’t finished its breakfast yet. OKC’s General Manager, Sam Presti, arguably, the greatest of the NBA negotiators doesn’t see enough leverage in the trade (Presti/Ujiri meetings would also emulate Ibex mountaintop fighting). San Antonio does not believe in Giddey as their future point guard. Or, Johnson is considered too redundant among RJ, Quickley, and Scottie.

TRADE #3: A Reunion and a [Not So] Sneaky Contender Making a Move

Miami Heat: Pascal Siakam, Jalen McDaniels, Mike Muscala

Washington Wizards: Kevin Love, Nikola Jović, Thomas Robinson, Miami First Round Pick, Miami Second Round Pick (via Los Angeles Lakers)

Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Corey Kispert, RJ Hampton, One Miami First Round Pick

Why Miami

There have been two major weaknesses with Miami in the playoffs: a lack of contribution at the 4 and a lack of offensive diversity. The Heat’s run last year had much to do with their shooters (Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, specifically) suddenly combusting and Jimmy Butler going supernova. Pascal resolves both issues hefting much of the offensive load. He also reinforces their backline where Bam is lone to defend like a Japanese soldier who doesn’t know the WWII is over.

Mike Muscala gives the Heat an additional shooter and backup big for good measure.

Why Washington

It’s a mess over there. The Wizards have new management; the old left them a mess. Half a dozen whiffs in the draft among a litany of other errors. It’s best they start anew. They don’t need to get involved, but doing so grabs them Nikola Jović, an enticing prospect, and picks for taking on a few extra contracts.

Why Toronto

Kyle Lowry comes home. How sweet it is.

What better way to commence Toronto’s new era than with its old floor general sunsetting his career at home. Perhaps, Kyle comes back on a small deal, plays on reduced minutes, counsels the young bucks, and keeps the peace. Udonis Haslem style.

The pearl is Jaime Jaquez Jr., who has quickly established himself as, possibly, the steal of the draft. He’s crafty, athletic, and cerebral. Classic theoretical Raptor guy: if, BIG IF, his three-point shot comes along, he will be a legitimate three-level threat on a rookie-scale contract (he’s already in the 92nd percentile in at-rim accuracy and 74th in mid-range accuracy among all wings). The more intelligent, versatile players surrounding Scottie, the more his super genius flourishes, and the more likely this team reaches its heights.

Corey Kispert comes in as a high-volume three-point shooter. He’s having a down year, but who isn’t in Washington. He has one year left – a team option. I kinda doubt the Wizards want to re-sign him, so moving off him now for some value might be wise. It also presents a nice opportunity to move off Gary Trent Jr..

Why it Won’t Work

This comes down to Miami’s willingness to spend a chunk of draft capital and cap space on Pascal. Jimmy is a mid-range guy. Bam too. Pascal might overlap too much. A scoring guard widening the floor might be their preference. But who? They whiffed on Dame and refused Beal. What did I say about windows? Also, Jaquez might be too good and too cheap stud to let go. He’s third in Rookie of the Year odds.