The Toronto Raptors currently sit in a state of flux. A little over four years removed from their 2019 NBA Finals win, almost every key contributor has left town. Another could hit the door soon, as rumors are swirling that Raptors President Masai Ujiri could ship 2019 Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam out of town next. Here’s a look at what’s happened so far.
The Case for a Trade
The NBA community is currently abuzz with rumors surrounding the potential trade of Toronto Raptors' key player, Pascal Siakam. Speculations about an impending blockbuster deal have gained momentum, suggesting significant changes could be on the horizon for the team. As fans and analysts dive into the details of Siakam's future, uncertainty looms large.
As the situation unfolds, bettors are using legal sports betting options to capitalize on their Raptors futures bets. While the outcome remains uncertain, these trade rumors have undoubtedly caught the attention of basketball aficionados. Legal betting sites provide an additional layer of excitement and interactivity, enabling fans to actively participate in the discourse and make educated predictions about the possible trade's outcome.
The potential trade makes sense in many ways. The Raptors are fully committing to a rebuild, blowing it up now that key players are out of town. They’ve taken excellent steps to facilitate said rebuild, bringing in head coach Darko Rajaković from the Memphis Grizzlies. Serving as an assistant coach, Rajaković oversaw the youth movements in Oklahoma City and Memphis over the past decade which led to extended periods of success as he developed excellent young players.
If he can work his magic again in Toronto, there could be an excellent young contender brewing north of the border in a couple of years time.
Flipping a proven NBA player like Siakam who could elevate another team to championship potential could bring in talented young prospects for Rajaković to work with, and Ujiri has proven himself as a cunning executive time and again in the past decade.
At the same time, though, trading Siakam isn’t that easy.
The Case Against a Trade
Back in June when the news first broke that the Raptors were actively shopping Siakam, a report from Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report stated that Siakam wouldn’t re-sign with a team that traded for him, as he preferred to stay in Toronto.
In two busy months since then, the Raptors haven’t been able to find a willing trade partner. It’s possible that Siakam undercut their trade leverage with the report that he wouldn’t re-sign, whether because he legitimately wants to stay in Toronto, or because he doesn’t want the team that trades for him to have to flip a treasure chest of assets to pick him up.
If the report is true, though, trading a star player in the middle of his prime who remains adamant about his desire to stay would be a nasty black eye for a franchise that had only just managed to prove themselves as stable winners who could take home a championship.
Few of the blockbuster trades we’ve seen in recent years have turned out well for the teams acquiring draft picks and prospects: flipping a proven talent for unproven commodities is a lottery ticket approach, and teams like the Thunder and the New Orleans Pelicans remain in the basement after getting a wealth of draft picks for players like Paul George and Anthony Davis.
Coupled with the fact that Siakam undercut their leverage, and any deal the Raptors manage to swing could turn into a notoriously bad one.
The Plot Thickens
To make matters even worse, the rumors around Siakam aren’t the only ones swirling around the Raptors franchise. Reports continue to surface that Ujiri is unhappy in Toronto, and he’s been linked to the Washington Wizards repeatedly over the past few months. At 53 years old, with a proven track record as one of the top executives in the game and millions of dollars to his name over the course of his career (along with the potential for much more than that, with ownership stakes a sticking point in his most recent deal with the Raptors), Ujiri may not want to sit through another rebuild, especially after seeing the players he hand-picked leave town one by one. If the rumors are true and his frustration with the team is growing, the Raptors could find themselves on even shakier ground in the near future.