The Hawks could follow the Raptors’ blueprint
Siakam is said to be against a trade to Atlanta but the Hawks could take the Raptors’ approach from the 2018-19 season when they acquired Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs.
The result was a championship.
However, they also watched Leonard walk out the door for his hometown Los Angeles Clippers the following offseason despite that success and their best efforts to keep him in Toronto. With all due respect, Siakam – who was on that title team and who was the NBA’s Most Improved Player that season – is not the player that Leonard is.
The Hawks could be risking an even heftier trade package with a player whose acquisition doesn’t guarantee them a top-five spot in the Eastern Conference. Conversely, they were 20-23 in clutch games this past season.
A few of those games going the other way could mean all the difference for a club that finished 41-41 in the regular season before bowing out of the playoffs in six games.
Siakam, 29, can certainly do that.
He averaged 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists while finishing just a shade below 1.0 steals per game this past season. While he is not a knockdown three-point shooter, hitting just 32.4% from beyond the arc in 2022-23, he did shoot 34.1% on catch-and-shoot threes.
Siakam is heading into the final year of a four-year, $136.9 million contract and will command top dollar on the open market.
The risk in this deal is undeniable, though, and anything short of a title would be disastrous.