The Indiana Pacers are set to be active in trade talks once the February 8 deadline rolls around this year. They have a solid team, but there’s also a ton of room for them to improve.
Tyrese Haliburton is leading the charge, and the supporting cast around him is full of talented players, but it just feels like they’re missing something, particularly on the defensive end of the court.
Indiana has been linked to two stars in recent weeks: Toronto Raptors forwards OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Both would make sense on the Pacers, but a recent report has indicated that they are more interested in one than the other.
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Pacers (and the Sacramento Kings) are more intrigued by the idea of adding Anunoby to the mix rather than Siakam.
“Other teams mentioned by league personnel as interested in obtaining Siakam are Indiana and Sacramento, though both the Pacers and Kings appear more vested in the possibility of landing Anunoby than his older, less malleable Raptors counterpart,” Fischer wrote.
Anunoby is 26 years old, while Siakam is 29, meaning he may fit the Pacers’ timeline a bit better next to Haliburton, who is still only 23 years old. However, their preference for Anunoby likely goes beyond that.
For as great as Siakam is, he’s not as good of a plug-and-play guy as Anunoby, who is more than comfortable playing off the ball and taking a bunch of threes.
Siakam has never been a great three-point shooter, so Indiana’s floor spacing would likely take a hit if they traded for him. That said, he is a better overall shot creator than Anunoby.
However, the most impactful metric to look at is each player’s contract situation. Siakam makes far more money than Anunoby ($18.6 million to $37.9 million).
Matching Siakam’s contract in a trade would require throwing in a ton of assets, almost certainly including Buddy Hield, TJ McConnell, and more. For Anunoby, however, the Pacers could get away with trading just Hield and smaller contracts.
Combine that with the fact that Anunoby fits the Pacers’ playstyle and overall contention timeline much better, and their greater interest in him over Siakam makes a ton of sense.