Atlanta Hawks Should Make Pascal Siakam Priority in 2020 Free Agency

Pascal Siakam Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Pascal Siakam Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Though all eyes are on the 2019 offseason, the Atlanta Hawks should be looking ahead and pondering the 2020 free agency of Pascal Siakam.

The Toronto Raptors are currently enveloped in an engrossing second round playoff series with the Philadelphia 76ers, and thanks to the exploits of the presumptive Most Improved Player in the NBA (though there might be another option on the Atlanta Hawks), they were able to easily defeat Philly in Game 1. The player I’m referring to is, of course, Pascal Siakam.

Spicy P erupted as a sensational player this year for Toronto after starring as a brilliant part of that tremendous Raptors bench unit from the 2017-18 season.

Siakam was incredible this season, and per Cleaning the Glass, the Raptors were +14.1 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court than without him. That number was third on the team, behind only Marc Gasol (in limited minutes) and Danny Green and notably ahead of both Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.

Siakam’s numbers via ESPN’s real plus/minus are also exceptional, as he was the 4th-ranked power forward overall with a 4.17 RPM. His offensive real plus/minus was 5th (1.92) and his defensive real plus/minus was 8th (2.25). Overall, across all positions, Siakam graded out as the 21st best player in the NBA – extremely elite company to be sure.

Beyond his immense production, the eye test proves Siakam to be a titanic force on both ends due to his blazing speed, far-reaching length and innate quickness; Siakam is one of the few players who plays in a similar style to the one and only Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Combine all of these skills with a player who’s only making $2.35 million next season, and you have the makings of a player who will get an immense raise when he hits free agency in 2020.

Some NBA salary cap minutiae: Toronto will be able to extend a qualifying offer for Siakam worth around $3.5 million in the 2020 offseason, which he will inevitably decline, making him a restricted free agent. This is where the Atlanta Hawks swoop in.

If the Atlanta Hawks were to be rather thrifty this offseason, they would be able to save up in order to extend a mammoth offer sheet to Siakam in the 2020 offseason – as he seems like the type of player who would raise both the floor and ceiling of a team with his presence.

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Who know, the Raps might extend Siakam off of his rookie deal before he ever hits free agency (which is likely), but if they don’t, the Atlanta Hawks should lie in wait and prioritize signing Siakam in 2020.