Lots of eyes should be on the Indiana Pacers as the February 8 trade deadline rapidly approaches. Tyrese Haliburton is slated to miss a few weeks, but improving the team around him should still be a top priority.
When Haliburton is healthy, the Pacers are constantly within striking distance of a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference, and adding another talented player could help propel them even further forward in the conversation in the East.
One guy they have been linked to time and time again is Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam, who, after the OG Anunoby trade, could be the next to go as the Raptors look to reshape their roster.
However, there are a couple of issues that could surface in a potential Siakam deal, and Kurt Heilin of NBC Sports detailed one of them - a sky-high asking price.
According to Heilin, the Raptors want one of Bennedict Mathurin or Jarace Walker in any return they get for Siakam from the Pacers.
“The Warriors are interested in Siakam, but Wojnarowski called it a “difficult pathway” to get a trade done,” Heilin wrote. “Another team mentioned as a trade partner is Indiana, which would be a fantastic fit on the court next to Tyrese Haliburton. However, Toronto wants Bennedict Mathurin or Jarace Walker in any trade with Indiana. The Pacers are not interested in trading away their young talent for a player they can sign as a free agent this summer (the Pacers have a lot of salary cap flexibility). Plus, if Indiana did trade for him, there would be no guarantee he would stay. The vibe in league circles is that Siakam will go to the team this summer that offers him the most money, but many GMs are wary of giving him max money, thinking that is somewhat of an overpay for him.”
In addition, recent reports have indicated Siakam’s hesitancy to sign an extension. And considering he’s in the final year of his contract, the Pacers would almost certainly want assurance that Siakam would re-sign before making a blockbuster deal.
Giving up on Mathurin seems unlikely. It was just last season that the youngster was a top candidate for Rookie of the Year, and despite his rough stint as a starter to begin the year, his talent is clear.
Walker, on the other hand, could be an intriguing trade candidate. The Pacers clearly like Walker, but head coach Rick Carlisle hasn’t given him any significant minutes all season long.
So far this season, Siakam is averaging 22.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists while shooting 52.6% from the field and 33.1% from behind the three-point line.
Siakam would undoubtedly be a great pick-up for the Pacers, but whether or not they want to pay the Raptors’ steep asking price remains to be seen.