After dealing O.G. Anunoby to the New York Knicks, the Toronto Raptors find themselves facing one final decision: whether to move Pascal Siakam or to keep him. The Raptors have gutted their 2018-19 championship roster in one way or another and have parted with every significant contributor from that team, aside from the two-time All-Star forward.
The Raptors have even changed coaches, as Nick Nurse was given his walking papers this past offseason, as the Raptors hired Darko Rajakovic to serve as the tenth coach in franchise history. But it hasn't all gone according to plan, especially as it pertains to Fred VanVleet, who the Raps signed as an undrafted free agent and saw morph into an All-Star point guard.
The Raptors wanted to hold onto the 2019 NBA champion and never considered trading him. Instead, Ujiri thought he'd be able to agree to terms on a new deal with the floor general, as the two sides went back and forth on the terms.
Rockets playing a surprise factor into Raptors decision with Siakam.
However, the Raptors didn't expect the Houston Rockets to swoop in and nab VanVleet by offering him the bag. The Raptors were left without a back-up plan, prompting them to turn to Dennis Schroder, only to add Immanuel Quickley less than seven months after signing Schroder.
Clearly they didn't anticipate losing their guy for nothing.
Ujiri's experience of losing VanVleet to the Rockets is apparently factoring into the Siakam sweepstakes. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports joined a Twitter Spaces and explained how the Rockets' nabbing of VanVleet could have an impact on the Siakam outcome.
"If he’s not traded, the Raptors have to give him an extension. They won’t be able to risk the thought of back-to-back summers where Fred VanVleet walks for nothing and the chance that Pascal Siakam does the same."
Fischer explained that VanVleet's process of leaving the Raps for a hefty deal the Rockets could be Siakam's same thought process, if he isn't traded.
"The driving factor there is where the money is at. The biggest dollar figure that’s gonna be on the table is what he’s gonna take this summer, just like what Fred did with Houston.
That was what he wanted. Undrafted guy. He wanted to get what he thought he deserved and I think that’s what Pascal wants too."
Fischer explained how VanVleet's departure led to the Raps' decision to move Anunoby, while also intensifying their plans to move Siakam.
"When Fred walked out the door, everyone was pinning the Raptors as the sellers that they are now."
VanVleet fetched a three-year deal worth $128 million with the Rockets. The Raptors let it get to that point though.
It's smart that they're allowing the loss of VanVleet to the Rockets to factor into what they decide to do with Siakam. If they've learned their lesson, they'll either deal the former All-NBA forward before February's trade deadline or they'll give him an extension if they aren't able to find a trade partner for the 29-year-old Cameroonian.