3. Highest chance to keep Pascal Siakam long-term
Saved the best for last.
By far the biggest concern Pacers fans and in general NBA fans had with a Siakam trade was the very real possibility of the trade being rendered useless if he were to leave in free agency. At the time of writing, Siakam was only contracted for about five more months and was set to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in June of 2024.
With Siakam already declining a lesser offer from Toronto in the summer and the team letting him know that a max contract offer would not be headed his way, the writing was on the wall for the Raptors to either lose him for nothing or get some value back for their disgruntled All-Star.
Before the trade, a lot of Pacers fans were turned off by Siakam's expiring contract and, myself included, thought that a better idea would be to bid on him in free agency. However, without a head start and bird rights, Indiana would be playing a tough game trying to lure an All-Star to the Pacers.
Prior to Siakam, the most notable free agent to sign with Indiana was 31-year-old David West, who, while still productive, was not the same player he was in New Orleans. With this in mind, Indiana decided to swing for the fences early, giving up expendable assets to obtain the best chance at re-signing Siakam come free agency.
In addition to this, Siakam and Tyrese Haliburton are already familiar with each other, with them getting acquainted at 2023 All-Star Weekend and being good friends off the court. This, combined with Haliburton's play style and ability to help any player improve, especially one with Siakam's play style, should do wonders in convincing Pascal to re-sign with the Basketball State come June.
All in all, Indiana made an A+ move trading for Siakam, especially with keeping all of their young players while doing it. Any Pacers fans still skeptical about the trade will most likely fall in love after one game of the Haliburton/Siakam tandem. Buckle up, Pacers fans; this is going to be a fun ride.