Indiana has been at the front of the line in Pascal Siakam trade rumors from the start — he's a natural fit next to Tyrese Haliburton for a team in need of wing help. The Pacers will have the cap space to sign him and the picks and/or young players to trade that would interest Toronto.
The sides are talking, reports Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The Raptors and Pacers are actively engaged in trade talks centered around two-time All-Star forward Pascal Siakam that would send him to Indiana for a package that includes Bruce Brown Jr., other salaries and three first-round draft picks, league sources tell The Athletic. The Raptors have been engaged in discussions with several teams on a potential Siakam deal, but conversations with the Pacers have gained steam in recent days, those sources say.
There are two big questions about and out of this report:
1) Did Siakam give the Pacers any indication he would re-sign with them as a free agent? This has been a sticking point in all Siakam trade talks because he will be a free agent this summer. What teams would give up for a rental is different from what they offer if Siakam is going to stay. Siakam's camp has reportedly told teams that he will not automatically re-sign with any team that trades for him (which is partially why Sacramento dropped out of the bidding). Siakam wants a max contract this summer and the sense around the league is he will go wherever that money is on the table. Indiana has cap space to re-sign Siakam this summer and may feel it has a leg-up in keeping him if they trade for him, but they are still going to have to pay.
2) Who are the "other salaries" in this trade? From the start, the Raptors have made it clear they wanted a return package for Siakam similar to what they got from the Knicks for OG Anunoby — RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley — in terms of players who fit on the timeline of the guy Toronto is building around, Scottie Barnes. Indiana has two players like that in Bennedict Mathurin or Jarace Walker but didn't want to trade them, especially for a potential rental player. Are Mathurin or Walker in this trade, or is the construction more like Bruce Brown, Obi Toppin, and Jalen Smith plus the picks?
That these sides are talking doesn't mean a deal is almost done. However, the Pacers are the best basketball fit for Siakam, who is averaging 22.2 points and 6.3 assists a game this season.