Atlanta Hawks add new wrinkle to Pascal Siakam trade rumors

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks’ latest rumored addition is likely just business as usual. But the potential implications of it are undeniable, especially considering the recent trade winds swirling around them.

Atlanta has been heavily linked to Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam but traction has been hard to come by despite multiple packages being discussed, and the threat of other suitors always looms large.

But the Hawks may have just given themselves a leg up on the competition.

“The Raptors have lost another long-time member of the support staff,” wrote Doug Smith of the Toronto Star on July 13. “Ray Chow, the massage therapist who has been with the team since its inception, is off to work for the Atlanta Hawks, team sources said. He was particularly close to Siakam.”

Atlanta has yet to announce any further hirings since revamping Quin Snyder‘s coaching staff but this could be the most substantial sign yet that they plan to pursue the Raptors star.

Siakam, 29, is a two-time All-NBA selection and All-Star as well as a former champion and the 2018-19 Most Improved Player. He is going into the last year of a four-year, $136.9 million contract.

Among the many twists and turns, Marc Stein of The Stein Line reported that Siakam has relayed the sentiment that he is not interested in a trade, preferring to stick around for a chance to cash in with an extension or new deal in free agency.

More importantly, Toronto is in no rush to make a deal just for the sake of it.

“The Siakam saga has really not changed. He’d like to not be traded; the team is willing to move him in the right circumstances,” Smith continued. “The prevailing attitude from a variety of sources is this: Siakam is in play but the Raptors are in no rush. Nor do they feel they must make a deal.”

The Atlanta Hawks might not be in a hurry to trade either

Atlanta created a void at power forward – and a # by trading John Collins to the Utah Jazz on June 27 before the start of free agency.

Their in-house options to replace him are Saddiq Bey and Jalen Johnson.

Bey, 24, averaged 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 40% from deep in 25 appearances with the Hawks after the trade deadline. A 6-foot-7 sharpshooter with good size, he is also extension eligible this offseason.

The Hawks selected Johnson, 21, with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft after an injury-shortened freshman season at Duke led to a slide on draft night. He fell right into the Hawks’ laps and, despite non-linear development, has flashed all of the size and traits that made him a highly-touted prospect coming out of high school and in the pre-draft process.

But Atlanta’s continued rumored pursuit of Siakam would be an indicator that they feel Bey and Johnson are better suited for their current roles off the bench.

There are still a lot of variables at play.

Hawks general manager Landry Fields has stated the need to get better and, even with Collins coming off his worst season, it is hard to say they accomplished that since their only additions have been a crop of rookies and 34-year-old Patty Mills who was traded three times this offseason.

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They do have Snyder for an entire offseason which both Trae Young and Dejounte Murray have cited as a big key to the Hawks’ success.