Hawks prospect named-dropped as potential swing piece in Pascal Siakam trade

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Atlanta Hawks want to succeed in their pursuit of Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam they are going to have to bite the bullet and go all in which could mean offering up rookie Kobe Bufkin, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

So far, their offers have included the since-traded John Collins and a package including AJ Griffin, De’Andre Hunter, and draft compensation, per Shams Charania of The Athletic on August 9. That offer, as evidenced by Siakam still being on Toronto’s roster, was rejected by the Raptors.

“If the Atlanta Hawks really want to add Pascal Siakam…it appears the Georgia outfit will have to try a little harder to entice the Raptors,” wrote Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun on August 9.

Hunter, 25, offers legit size and athleticism at a premium position in today’s NBA.

But he has found himself bandied about in the rumor mill this offseason as the Hawks have also had “significant” discussions with the Detroit Pistons about trading the former No. 4 overall pick who is starting a four-year, $90 million contract this season.

Griffin does not present the same kind of financial concerns, heading into just his second season, and has proven to have a legitimate NBA skill set as a three-point shooter while still flashing the potential to develop off the dribble and as a defender where his size – he is 6-foot-6 and listed at 222 pounds – could become a major asset.

However, Siakam is a two-time All-Star and All-NBA selection as well as a champion. Those players are expensive to acquire.

This is where Bufkin could make a difference.

Raptors ‘high’ on Hawks rookie Kobe Bufkin

“Griffin is a definite talent and Hunter led Virginia to an NCAA title and is under contract at a reasonable rate for a while,” Wolstat continued. “But one would think the Raptors want rookie guard Kobe Bufkin, who recently became trade eligible.”

According to Wolstat, the Raptors “strongly considered” Bufkin with the No. 13 overall pick but went with wing Gradey Dick instead.

But Toronto “remains high” on the former Michigan Wolverine, Bufkin.

If the version of this potential trade reported by Charania seemed like a steep price to pay – particularly for a player who has made it known he does not plan to re-sign after next season if traded to Atlanta – then adding Bufkin might seem like complete overkill. Perhaps that is why Charania noted that talks between the two teams have been paused for the time being.

Charania also noted that the Hawks are fully prepared to enter the 2023-24 regular season with their roster as-is.

That is good if the rumored offer as far as they wish to go in pursuit of Siakam with their future draft picks going from middling to the back end of the first round if they land him. It appears it will continue to be tough to convince Toronto to budge without further incentivization.

This is still a very talented team, however.

Next. Hawks fans should be patient with rookie Kobe Bufkin. dark

It is a team that looked very different once Quin Snyder replaced Nate McMillan as head coach. They can be confident entering the 2023-24 campaign they will be better, though Collins’ absence looms large.