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Warriors, Raptors reportedly talked Siakam trade recently, but his free agency complicates everything

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers
NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers

Pascal Siakam — the two-time All-NBA player who has been one of the key players on a championship team — is the best player available at this trade deadline (Feb. 8).

The stumbling Golden State Warriors need some kind of jolt at that trade deadline and the front offices of the Raptors and Warriors "have discussed Siakam in recent weeks" according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

However, his contract demands complicate a Siakam trade anywhere — he is a free agent this summer and wants a max contract. He will chase the biggest payday he can get next summer, wherever it takes him. Siakam's camp is reportedly telling teams that he is not guaranteed to re-sign with any team that trades for him, presumably because he is going where the money takes him. That makes him a rental as a trade target and the offers from the Warriors or any other team would drop in quality accordingly.

The best description of what is going on comes from Sam Amick at The Athletic about why the Kings pulled out of Siakam trade talks.

According to two league sources, the Kings should have very little — if any — optimism regarding the prospect of Siakam re-signing in the summer if they were to land him. With that in mind, it should surprise no one that the Kings are unwilling to include second-year forward Keegan Murray in a deal... But either way, Siakam is seeking a full-term, max-salary deal no matter where he ultimately lands.

A Siakam max contract would be for 30% of the salary cap, or four years at about $184.5 million starting at $42.9 million next season (that number is an estimate that could move a little depending upon where the salary cap lands). The sense around the league is teams feel he should take a little discount from that number, something closer to the $37.9 million he is making this season.

Take the Pacers as an example. Siakam is a hand-in-glove basketball fit with them — Siakam running next to Tyrese Haliburton would be a force — and they will have cap space next summer just shy of the max. However, if he isn't giving Indiana a handshake agreement he will re-sign, the Pacers can't risk a big deal. Looming over all of this are the Philadelphia 76ers, who have max money next summer and a tempting offer to play next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.

All of this leads to growing speculation that the most likely outcome is the Raptors extend Siakam, then they can find a trade for him later. Toronto doesn't want a repeat of what happened with Fred VanVleet, where the lack of an extension led to him leaving for nothing to chase the money in Houston. Would that be a max extension? For how many years, and are their player options at the end? There would be a lot of details to work out, but that path seems more likely than a lowball trade.