As the Raptors plumb ever deeper into the depths of misery, even more distractions arrived today with conflicting reports surrounding Pascal Siakam and Nick Nurse.
This morning, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported with sources that the Raptors had fined Siakam $50,000 for directing “heated choice words” at Nurse following the team’s loss in Cleveland on Sunday.
The Toronto Raptors fined star forward Pascal Siakam $50,000 after directing several heated choice words toward head coach Nick Nurse after Sunday's loss in Cleveland, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.https://t.co/v7eFvP79QW— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 23, 2021
Not so fast, though. After checking in with the Raptors’ public relations department, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star says the team is dismissing the report as untrue.
According to Raptors PR chief Jennifer Quinn, any issue between Nick Nurse and Pascal Siakam is "being discussed" and "no decisions have been made" concerning any discipline yet.— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) March 23, 2021
There’s been no official word (yet) of the fine mentioned by Charania, but the story in The Athletic does get to specifics that wouldn’t normally be the figment of someone’s imagination.
The incident occurred while the Raptors were leaving the floor following an 11-point loss on Sunday night against the Cavaliers. Stemming from the frustration amid what is now a nine-game losing streak, Siakam directed a verbal exchange that included several choice words toward Nurse, multiple sources confirmed.
Charania is no chump, either. While you can criticize his wording and being a company man all you want, rarely do his stories come from a place of invention — indicating someone within the Raptors leaked.
We know that there could be historic precedent with Siakam and Nurse, too. Siakam was benched on Dec. 31 after being ejected and leaving the bench in Toronto’s prior game. He was also benched in favour of Stanley Johnson to close the game in question Sunday at Cleveland. While there may not be fire here, something in the Raptors’ kitchen smells like smoke.
I won’t posit too much more than that. There may be updates as the day goes on, but if the reporting is true, then it’s another harried chapter for Siakam and the Raptors in a season that seems unable to turn around.