The Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline may still several weeks away, but that hasn’t stopped the Toronto Raptors from getting active in overhauling their roster. Just over two weeks after sending O.G. Anunoby to the New York Knicks, Toronto is now reportedly on the verge of shipping Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers.
Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic are reporting that the Raptors and Pacers are in “active talks” on a deal that would send Siakam — a mainstay in the rumor mill for several seasons now — to Indiana in exchange for three first-round picks:
Bruce Brown Jr. would likely be the majority of the salary filler going from the Pacers, Charania and Amick report, but Indiana would still likely need to add about $8 million in salary to make this trade legal (for example, T.J. McConnell’s inclusion would make it work, although The Athletic’s story does not report any additional names beyond Brown).
Former Grizzlies executive John Hollinger offered up two other hypothetical trade packages that would work on the site formerly known as Twitter:
Re: Indy-Siakam report by our @ShamsCharania : Brown-Nwora-Toppin gets you to a salary match; Nwora rarely plays and Siakam would replace Toppin, and all three are expiring (Tm-opt on Brown). Indy could also take Otto Porter into cap room as part of a trade.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) January 17, 2024
What picks can the Pacers send?
Charania and Amick’s story does not mention which first-round picks would be involved, but Indiana currently owns a 2024 first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, L.A. Clippers or Utah Jazz (it’s an extremely complicated swap, the details of which can be read about here), as well as their own 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029 and 2030 picks, meaning they have a bit of a pick surplus as they continue to build around ascending star Tyrese Halliburton.
But even if one of those reported firsts is the janky swap one — and one or two of the Pacers’ own are protected — it’s still a steep price to pay for Siakam, who can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. However, as a non-glamor destination and smaller market, Indiana may feel that’s what they have to do to get a running mate for Halliburton who can help them win now.
And while we would obviously never suggest that tampering happens in the NBA, it would seem likely that Siakam’s reps at Life Sports Agency (which also reps Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard) have some sort of understanding with Indiana about Siakam’s future if the Pacers are willing to pay such a hefty price in draft capital to bring him in for half a season.
For the Raptors, this deal would firmly cement their retool for the future around Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley moving forward.
Will this deal actually happen?
That is not certain. Earlier this month, Charania reported that the Raptors and Kings were “ramping up trade talks” centered around Siakam before reporting later the same day that the Kings had “pulled out of the Pascal Siakam trade talks,” which we can guess was likely due to Siakam letting it be known he would not stay in Sacramento. It’s always possible we get a similar leak here, but for now, it seems quite possible Siakam will be a Pacer soon.
This breaking news story may be updated with more information and analysis as it continues to develop. For more on the Raptors’ perspective on this move, check out Raptors HQ.