#1: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Bad news for Toronto Raptors fans, but a Pascal Siakam trade may soon be on the horizon. The Raptors lost Fred VanVleet for nothing this past free agency, and it’s implausible Masai Ujiri lets that happen with Siakam, as well. Given the current state of the franchise, it doesn’t make sense to sign him to an extension or resign him.
The struggling Raptors have lost six of their last ten games and are 9-12 on the season. All signs point to a rebuild, not a retool, and given his age (he'll be 30 years old when the season ends), Siakam doesn't necessarily fit the Raptor'' current timeline.
The fact is, Toronto is in the early stages of a rebuild, whether they want to admit it or not, and with the emergence of Scottie Barnes, the logical thing to do is build around him and move on from Siakam. Barnes is just 22 years old and is thriving in his role as the point forward under first-year head coach Darko Rajakovic.
With a player like Scottie, ideally, you would surround him with three-point shooters. Siakam has always been a below-average perimeter shooter and is shooting just 20 percent from long range this season.
He’s struggled a bit and has been inconsistent as he continues to adapt to his new coach’s system, but he’s still a productive player. Despite the inconsistencies and experiencing a “down year,” he’s still averaging 20.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.
He’s also been rumored to be looking for a max or near-max contract this offseason, and with a potential OG Anunoby contract extension on the horizon, it isn’t likely that Toronto is the team Siakam inks his next deal with. This brings us to the only logical conclusion. Trade him.
His salary plus the fact that any team that trades for him will likely do so with the expectation of him re-signing with them, the trade market may be limited for him. Still, there are several teams with the assets to acquire Siakam who could use his services.
Nonetheless, Ujiri’s last few trades haven’t looked very good in hindsight, and there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to haul in a great return if he chooses to pull the trigger on a trade.