Raptors' Pascal Siakam Out vs. Warriors After Entering Health and Safety Protocols

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2021

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MAY 06: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors reacts during overtime against the Washington Wizards at Amalie Arena on May 06, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols.

The team made the announcement before Saturday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

Siakam was the subject of trade rumors this offseason. The Raptors found themselves in an interesting position in the summer, with veteran Kyle Lowry departing, young prospect Scottie Barnes being selected with the No. 4 overall pick and a mix of solid veterans in Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby already on the roster.

Were the Raptors rebuilding, retooling or gunning for another title? And if it was either of the first two, would players such as Siakam be shopped?

Ultimately, the Raptors held on to their star power forward, ostensibly with the goal of continuing to compete for a playoff berth in the short term.

They missed out last season, as COVID-19 regulations forced them to play their home games in Tampa Bay, Florida, rather than Toronto. That situation, combined with injuries, led to a disappointing 27-45 season.

Siakam had his own struggles, averaging 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and just 29.7 percent from beyond the arc. It was hardly a poor season, but it was a slight step back from his excellent 2019-20 campaign (22.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 45.3 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from three).

There's no question the 27-year-old is somewhat miscast as a top scorer, though Toronto has required him to fill that role since Kawhi Leonard departed as a free agent for the Los Angeles Clippers. Regardless, his loss will be a major one for the team to overcome as it battles for a playoff berth in the competitive Eastern Conference.

While he's out of action, look for Barnes to play a bigger role.