17 Jan

Pacers, Raptors in ‘active talks’ around two-time All-Star, per report

The Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers are involved in active trade talks around two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick. The proposed deal would involve Bruce Brown, Indiana’s most expensive player at $22 million, and three first-round picks. The potential protections on those picks are not yet known, but talks have advanced over the past few days.

Several other teams have reportedly explored acquiring Siakam, including the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. The Raptors were seemingly at one point involved in talks with the Sacramento Kings, but those talks eventually fizzled. Sacramento has reportedly been unwilling to include second-year forward Keegan Murray in any deal for Siakam. As an impending free agent, Siakam has unusual leverage in these trade talks. He can scare off teams he is not interested in by refusing to negotiate an extension.

Indiana, now 23-17 and holding the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, is well-positioned to make a significant addition. Not only do the Pacers own all of their own first-round picks as well as another 2024 first-rounder from the Thunder, but they are positioned to create max cap space this offseason as well. That gives them a bit of leverage against the Raptors in these negotiations as they can pursue Siakam as a free agent if they do not land him via trade first.

The Raptors already made a big trade this season by sending OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks in a deal that landed them RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. Barrett and Quickley have fit in seamlessly in Toronto, and now, the Raptors appear focused on dealing another key veteran in Siakam to continue their push to make the roster younger around centerpiece forward Scottie Barnes.

Indiana is not known to be especially aggressive in pursuing veteran talent, but the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton as a legitimate MVP candidate has changed their roster-building calculus. The right upgrades could turn the Pacers into championship contenders in the near future. If they believe Siakam is that sort of addition, they’ll pay what it takes to land the star forward.

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