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Raptors trade All-Star forward Pascal Siakam


The Trade

The Toronto Raptors have traded perennial All-Star Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forwards Bruce Brown and Jordan Nwora, along with two 2024 first-round picks and a 2026 first-round selection. As part of the deal, Toronto will also receive point guard Kira Lewis from New Orleans, with the compensation for the Pelicans yet to be finalized.

What the Raptors obtained in exchange for Siakam, a player who has been a cornerstone of the franchise and a significant connection to the 2019 NBA championship team, may not appear substantial at the moment. However, given the uncertainty of securing anything in return for a two-time all-NBA selection and one of the top players in franchise history approaching free agency, the trade became a de facto imperative.

Raptors Vice-Chairman and President Masai Ujiri

“Pascal is a champion, an integral part of winning teams and an example of what can be achieved with dedication, perseverance, hard work and tenacity. We’re lucky to have seen Pascal develop into the man and player that he is today – and we are grateful for everything he has done for our city and for our franchise. We wish him all good things,” Raptors Vice-Chairman and President Masai Ujiri said. “This is a time of change for our team, and we welcome Bruce, Jordan and Kira to the Raptors and to Toronto. Bruce is a world champion, and we look forward to his two-way play and added toughness on the court. We continue the work of getting better every day, and continue moving forward in our quest to win here in Toronto.”        

“I’m excited that Pascal is getting a first-class opportunity with the Pacers, being paired with Tyrese [Haliburton] and Myles [Turner] and being coached by a great coach in Rick Carlisle. His future looks bright there,” remarked Siakam’s agent Todd Ramasar.

While Siakam will undoubtedly grab the headlines, the spotlight for Toronto is likely to be on Brown.

Bruce Brown Jr.

Bruce Brown, a dynamic six-foot-four wing, is currently in his sixth NBA season, having previously showcased his skills with the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets, and most recently, the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers. At 27-years-old, Brown’s contract situation includes a team option worth $23 million U.S. for the 2024-25 season. Following a triumphant championship run with the Denver Nuggets last season, Brown has made a significant impact in his tenure with the Pacers, starting in all 33 games he has played this year and achieving a career-high scoring average of 12.1 points per game. However, his three-point shooting proficiency stands at 32 per cent. While his role with the Raptors may serve as a temporary solution between now and the next season, or potentially as a valuable asset for future trades, there are compelling aspects to Browns game that make him an intriguing addition to the team.

Kira Lewis Jr.

During the current season, Lewis participated in 15 games with the Pelicans, accumulating 44 points, 14 rebounds, 18 assists, and five steals in 144 minutes of play.

In addition, Lewis saw action in six games during the 2023-24 season with the Birmingham Squadron, the NBA G League affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans. He showcased an impressive performance, averaging 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.8 steals in those matchups.

Having been a two-time first-team All-State player at Hazel Green High School, Lewis maintained a solid performance at the collegiate level, averaging 15.9 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds over 65 games during his two seasons at Alabama.

As the 13th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Lewis contributed 6.2 points and 2.2 assists in 16.0 minutes per game across 78 appearances with the Pelicans before suffering a significant injury—a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a grade-2 medial collateral ligament sprain in his right knee during a game against the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 8, 2021. Lewis didn’t play again for the Pelicans until Dec. 13, 2022, where he appeared in 25 of New Orleans’ remaining 56 games during the 2022-23 season.

Jordan Nwora

Jordan Nwora, a versatile six-foot-eight wing, currently finds himself in his fourth NBA season, having previously played with the Milwaukee Bucks before joining the Indiana Pacers. At the age of 25, Nwora’s contract is set to expire at the end of this season. However, his on-court contributions have been limited during his time with the Pacers, as he averages approximately 10 minutes in the 18 games he has appeared in. Given his sparse playing time, it seems unlikely that Nwora will play a significant role in this trade. Instead, he may primarily serve as salary-cap ballast in the transaction, and it remains uncertain whether he factors into the Raptors’ longer-term plans or strategic vision.

Pascal Grew Up a Raptor

Siakam bids farewell to the Raptors, leaving behind a compelling narrative as one of the organization’s most remarkable developmental success stories. Having been selected 27th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, the 29-year-old forward dedicated his entire eight-year career to Toronto, where he underwent a transformative journey, earning distinction as a two-time NBA All-Star. and two-time All-NBA player. Siakam’s impressive accolades include being named the league’s Most Improved Player in the 2018-19 season and contributing to the Raptors’ NBA championship victory in 2019, a title shared with the now sole remaining player from that triumphant roster, Canadian forward Chris Boucher. Throughout the current season, Siakam has demonstrated his prowess with an average of 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in 39 starts. His shooting efficiency stands at 31 percent from beyond the arc and an impressive 52 percent from the field. The departure comes as Siakam concludes the final year of his four-year, $130 million extension signed with the Raptors in October 2019. This trade marks the Raptors’ second major transaction of the season, following the earlier blockbuster deal involving OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn with the New York Knicks, acquiring Immanuel Quickley, Canadian R.J. Barrett, and a 2024 second-round draft pick from the Detroit Pistons.

A Bidding War – Sort Of

Numerous teams, such as the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks, were said to have explored the possibility of acquiring Siakam. The Raptors were, at some point, engaged in discussions with the Sacramento Kings, but those negotiations eventually lost momentum. It was reported that Sacramento was reluctant to include second-year forward Keegan Murray in any potential deal for Siakam. Siakam, given his impending free agency in the summer, held a unique position of leverage in these trade discussions. His ability to decline negotiations for an extension provided him with the means to dissuade teams he was not inclined to join.

The Raptors Future

Predicting the future for the Toronto Raptors without Pascal Siakam involves several factors, including the performance of the players acquired in exchange for Siakam, the development of existing roster members, and the team’s overall strategy.

The departure of Pascal Siakam will undoubtedly leave a void in the Raptors’ roster. Siakam contributed significantly on both ends of the court, with his scoring, playmaking, and defensive abilities. The impact of his absence will depend on how well the players received in the trade, such as Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, and any additional assets, integrate into the team.

The team’s management and coaching staff will need to make strategic decisions regarding potential future trades, free-agent signings, and draft selections to bolster the roster. The Raptors may focus on rebuilding and developing a young core or make moves to remain competitive in the short term.

Ultimately, the future for the Toronto Raptors without Pascal Siakam is uncertain, and much will depend on how well they navigate the post-Siakam era, make roster adjustments, and foster the growth of their emerging talents.

by Myles Shane

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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