“As for Siakam…the resistance to a trade to Atlanta has really been on his side,” said Marc Stein on the ‘#thisleague UNCUT’ podcast on July 7. “The most-consistent rumblings there have been the Hawks had been very interested in a trade for Siakam, and that Siakam has been resistant to it…Siakam really wouldn’t be interested in a contract extension if the [Raptors] were to move him.”
According to Stein, the “message has been sent” to Atlanta about Siakam’s stance.
Siakam, 29, averaged 24.2 points and 5.8 assists this past season – both career highs – adding 7.8 rebounds and nearly 1.0 steals per game. A versatile three-level scorer, the 6-foot-9 forward would be a more than suitable replacement for John Collins.
The Raptors star is a two-time All-NBA selection and All-Star as well as a former NBA champion and was the Most Improved Player in 2018-19.
He is heading into the final year of a four-year, $136.9 million contract and, if he did sign an extension, his current team could pay him a first-year salary worth up to $53-plus million; a 140% raise over his 2023-24 salary. But there were similar concerns about Dejounte Murray when the Hawks made that trade.
His four-year, $64 million contract extension seemed to have him destined for unrestricted free agency next offseason. Instead, Murray re-upped with the Hawks on a four-year, $120 million contract that can only be described as team-friendly.
“He would have been eligible for a maximum starting salary of nearly $44.9 million and a five-year, $260.3 million deal with the Hawks or a four-year, $193.0 million deal with any other team,” wrote Bryan Toporek of Forbes on July 7. “He’s settling for more than $70 million less than what he could have earned.”
Toporek notes that there is no certainly Murray, who missed the entire 2018-19 season with a torn ACL, would have received that offer in free agency.
That uncertainty was a boon for the Hawks.
Siakam’s case is vastly different even if only from the standpoint that it is known he doesn’t want to come to Atlanta. Whereas the Hawks might have been able to convince random Player X to re-sign had they felt neutral about the situation, the Hawks could be left with nothing next summer.
The Raptors have experience with this scenario – they traded franchise cornerstone DeMar DeRozan to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard who led that title run in 2018-19. Toronto likely wouldn’t trade that title for anything so the deal could be described as a win from their perspective.
Still, they were left without any further compensation when Leonard bolted for the Los Angeles Clippers that offseason.
Atlanta Hawks face other complications to a Pascal Siakam trade
Even before word of Siakam’s distaste for a trade to the Hawks began circulating, there were talks of other roadblocks impeding a deal getting done.
“The rising noise about Toronto forward Pascal Siakam has seemed to quiet,” wrote Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer on July 5. “The Hawks and Raptors have discussed various concepts to send Siakam to Atlanta in recent weeks, sources said, however, those conversations have not generated any forward progress of late.”
One of those iterations was a three-team deal with the Houston Rockets, per Stein.
Atlanta and Houston already have a deal in place to send former Hawks draftee Alpha Kaba to the Rockets for Usman Garuba and TyTy Washingon. The Hawks also have the Collins trade that could be used to fold in Siakam and the Raptors.
But, if Siakam is truly against a move to the Hawks in any sense, this rumor could very well end up staying as just that and nothing more.