Is Pascal Siakam worth it for the Houston Rockets?
The first thing that needs to be stated is that if the Raptors trade for James Harden then the Rockets will get far more in return than just Pascal Siakam. More players and picks will head back Houston’s way but Siakam is assured to headline the package.
The first benefit the Rockets would receive by flipping Siakam for Harden is financial. Siakam is under contract this season for $29 million compared to Harden’s $40.8 million and on top of that, his deal runs through the 2023-24 season while Harden has a player option after the 2021-22 season.
While the financial implications of trades are the least exciting aspects for most fan bases they play a huge role in how front offices view trades. From a financial perspective, this deal is a huge win for the Rockets. They get the younger cheaper player who’s under contract for longer.
The area where the Rockets will have to pause is that Siakam is not the best available young player on the market. Michael Porter Jr. has more upside, Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown are younger and better, C.J. McCollum helps you make the playoffs right away, and the list goes on and on.
With Siakam you’re trading for a contract and the belief that he is a player who will continue to grow. Of all the skills that get overlooked in the NBA, from helpside defending to setting nasty screens, the one that people most overlook is a player’s ability to grow their game.
LeBron James, the greatest player of his generation and possibly ever, has been growing and changing his game from the moment he came into the league. Kevin Durant came in and continued to hone his ability to score at every level and then he went to the Golden State Warriors and improved his defense.
The best players in the world are not born that way, as much as we like to think it, they work, grow, and evolve their way to greatness. Siakam is not one of the best players in the world but he might be one of the best at getting better.
The Rockets can get a better player for James Harden than Pascal Siakam. He’s just not as good as some of the other players available, but Siakam has shown that the player you get is not the player you’ll end up with.
In the end, if the Rockets and the Raptors make a trade that sends Harden to Canada/Tampa Bay and Siakam to Houston the deal will be done because of the pieces that come with Siakam. The Rockets shouldn’t look to the Raptors to make a deal but if the supporting pieces are right then a deal is possible because betting against Siakam continues to be a losing bet.