Frequent NBA newsbreaker The Athletic’s Shams Charania dropped an article last night, co-written with Sam Amick, reporting that the Toronto Raptors and the Indiana Pacers are in active talks surrounding a potential trade involving Pascal Siakam.
Developing: The Raptors and Pacers are in active talks on a trade centered on two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam for package that includes three first-round picks, league sources say.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 17, 2024
Full details at @TheAthletic with @sam_amick: https://t.co/o925VL5r3g
Let’s dive in a bit on this alleged offer:
Bruce Brown makes $22 million this season, but his $23 million contract next season is a team option per Spotrac. That remains way short of matching Siakam’s approximately $38 million contract this season. The Pacers must add more contracts to satisfy the salary matching rules.
Looking at the Pacers’ salary books, here are some potential options:
- TJ McConnell @ $8.7M
- Ben Mathurin @ $6.9M
- Obi Toppin @ $6.8M
- Jarace Walker @ $6M
- Jalen Smith @ $5M
- Jordan Nwora @ $3M
- Isaiah Jackson @ $2.6M
From this list, Ben Mathurin and Jarace Walker don’t fit into the “other salaries” that The Athletic mentioned; otherwise, they would have mentioned those juicy names. This is why Buddy Hield’s name is not involved in this particular iteration of a trade package. Aaron Nesmith’s got a poison pill on his contract, so including him for now may be a bit tricky. He may be part of the Pacers’ future. Obi Toppin is a big “maybe,” but he’s looked great in Indiana. Heck, who hasn’t looked good playing with Tyrese Haliburton. Can Haliburton’s $5M salary be considered part of the “other salaries” group?
Toppin is poised to lose his minutes on any iteration of a Siakam trade. Apparently, the Pacers are high on Jarace Walker. So the “other salaries” could be a combination of McConnell, Toppin, Smith, Nwora, and Jackson’s salaries.
To get a feel on what the package could look like, here’s a sample from John Hollinger:
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
The names on this “other salaries” list look less appealing. Jordan Nwora’s barely contributing to the Pacers, and he’s a free agent next season. Jalen Smith is a serviceable big, but he has a player option next season that he may not pick up. Isaiah Jackson is under contract for one more year and has shown intriguing flashes. McConnell has a guarantee of $5M next season, so I’m not sure if the Raptors are willing to eat that. Can we at least get Andrew Nembhard?
The Pacers own all of their first-round picks and have a spare via the worst of OKC/HOU/LAC/UTA ‘24 1st round pick. To keep it simple, currently, that’s OKC’s first-round pick as they’re near the top of the standings. A look at Tankathon today puts that pick at 27th, so it’s not an appealing first-round pick, given the quality of this coming draft.
With three first-rounders on the table, expect the OKC pick to be one of them. The other two could be their own ‘24 1st, which hovers around the 15-22 range, and maybe the ‘26 or ‘27th. It’s hard to imagine the Pacers giving up their ‘25 1st on a stacked draft.
Latest @BleacherReport NBA Rumors: Latest Intel on Pascal Siakam, Dejounte Murray, Zach LaVine and More -- I put a lot of work into this one, trying to map out the landscape as we near the trade deadlinehttps://t.co/uC1BL33IiW— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) January 16, 2024
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus also touched upon the Siakam trade rumours, writing in his trade rumour piece that the Raptors are looking for a return similar to what they got for OG Anunoby. The Knicks gave up RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to acquire Anunoby a few weeks ago instead of the several fake 1st round picks that were rumoured for the longest time.
Shams Charania touched upon this topic again this morning on Fan Duel’s Run It Back show, reiterating what he reported. He also mentioned that the Pacers were reaching their threshold and didn’t want to include Bennedict Mathurin or Jarace Walker in this deal.
"This is where talks stand right now, Indiana is very much pushing and motivated to get a deal done."@ShamsCharania updates on the Pacers interest in Pascal Siakam.— Run It Back (@RunItBackFDTV) January 17, 2024
: https://t.co/wdT8I0ST8g pic.twitter.com/Jho6UXCqbq
Also, the Philadelphia 76ers appears to be not in the Siakam race:
The Sixers don’t appear to be interested in Pascal Siakam, Zach LaVine or Dejounte Murray, per @ShamsCharania.— Evan Sidery (@esidery) January 17, 2024
“I have not gotten the sense they are going to pursue those three.” pic.twitter.com/A5T7z49kJv
Fischer chimes in
Sources: Jordan Nwora was part of the latest Indiana package featuring Bruce Brown Jr. for the Pacers’ efforts to land All-NBA talent Pascal Siakam from the Raptors on Tuesday.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) January 17, 2024
Other details on those negotiations and more from around league @YahooSports: https://t.co/drIBzATDEX
Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer corroborated the Mathurin/Walker hold up, and offered the intel that the Pacers’ package consists of:
- Bruce Brown
- Jordan Nwora
- Obi Toppin or Jalen Smith
Based on Shams Charania’s update, the intel likely came from the Pacers’ camp. It’s not a done deal, but the Pacers sound more like they’re talking to their competition, basically saying, “Your move” and trying to force some movement to the likes of the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks, to name a few, who might still be in kicking the canning phase. While the offer appears underwhelming compared to the Anunoby trade, this offer will probably look different once the trade goes down.
The tricky part is whether Siakam will commit to re-signing with his future team, and since the NBA is a “no tampering league,” teams can’t reach out to his agent and get a handshake deal before trading for him, right? Right?