Pascal Siakam Rumors: Teams Feel Raptors May Deal Star After Drafting Scottie BarnesJuly 30, 2021
The Toronto Raptors' decision to draft forward Scottie Barnes No. 4 overall Thursday night may have the marked the end of Pascal Siakam's time with the franchise.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, some rival teams were "immediately convinced" the team will look to trade Siakam this offseason. The 27-year-old has three years remaining on a four-year, $136.9 million deal, though the Raps would be likely selling low after the forward's production dipped to 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game in 2020-21.
It's unclear what type of return Toronto would be looking for to make such a deal.
The Raptors fined their franchise star $50,000 after he got into a shouting match with head coach Nick Nurse in March with Sportsnet's Michael Grange reporting "[Siakam] got personal, lines were crossed and teammates had to intervene".
Siakam should get the benefit of the doubt after the pandemic forced the Raptors to play their home games in Tampa, Florida, while waiting for the Canadian government to ease coronavirus restrictions at the border. It would be understandable for that amount of uncertainty to impact a player on a nightly basis.
In turn, the Raptors finished the season 27-45, which ranked fourth-to-last in the Eastern Conference.
That led the team to take Barnes over the likes of Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs as many had expected.
Bleacher Reports' Jonathan Wasserman noted Barnes' stock was rising ahead of the draft and explained what made so many teams enamored with the Florida State product:
"There is a belief Barnes has star potential, even if it's the unconventional type. Scouts see zero downside and only unique upside tied to his 6'8", 225-pound frame, 7'2¾" wingspan, ball-handling and passing for playmaking, and surefire defense. And they talk about the likability factor. Barnes' energy, passion and unselfishness were evident during the season and easy to detect during interviews.
"He's trending at the right time, like a year ago when interest in Patrick Williams felt contagious and gradually spread to the Chicago Bulls at No. 4 overall. Similarly, Barnes is now being viewed as one of the class' premier prospects, having seemingly broken free from the second tier that includes Connecticut's James Bouknight, Tennessee's Keon Johnson, Michigan's Franz Wagner, Australia's Josh Giddey, Texas' Kai Jones, Gonzaga's Corey Kispert, Arkansas' Moses Moody, Baylor's Davion Mitchell and Duke's Jalen Johnson."
Barnes may not tap into his potential star power immediately, but with Kyle Lowry likely on the move this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, it would make sense for Toronto to try jump-starting a quick rebuild by moving Siakam.