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With the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select, Pascal Siakam, forward, from New Mexico State.

  • Chad Ford, ESPN – “Siakam is a Masai Ujiri-type player all the way. He is tough, has a great motor, rebounds and blocks.”
  • Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report – “Siakam was a major reach at the end of the first round, and we can’t overlook the fact many highly touted prospects were still on the board.”
  • AJ Neuharth-Keusch & Mike Singer, USA Today – “He wasn’t projected to go in the first round due to his lack of polish on the offensive end, but he offers depth for a Raptors team who might lose Bismack Biyombo this offseason.”
  • Sam Vecenie, CBS Sports – Value-wise, this isn’t a superb pick. But he fits the team’s M.O. in terms of motor and hustle, and he could be a guy who contributes on the offensive glass sooner rather than later. Wish they would have gone with a guy like Deyonta Davis, but Siakam is probably closer to contributing now.

Those were the post-draft thoughts from various outlets after Toronto selected the Sophomore forward coming of a season in which he averaged 20.3 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game, and 2.2 blocks per game.

It’s safe to say that Siakam would be one of the first players selected in the draft if they were to re-do things today. He did not burst onto the scene until his third season in the NBA. The Cameroonian only scored double figures 28 times in 136 games and only one game crossing the twenty point plateau.

In the 2018-2019 season, he scored in double figures 72 times and had 26 games with twenty or more points. This led to the Raptors winning the NBA Finals with Kawhi Leonard mentoring him along the way. His ascension would continue, averaging 22 points per game in the final year of his rookie contract.

The two sides would agree on a contract extension worth $136M over four years. This season marks the end of that contract. Siakam was nothing short of reliable, available, and a professional despite the uncertainty of his future with Toronto. Rogers Sportsnet’s Michael Grange joined Query & Company Thursday afternoon to explain where things started going south.

“The two parties couldn’t agree on what the player was worth. The Raptors did try to extend him. Going back to the beginning of last season, there was a 3-year $125M extension on the table, that was the max that they could offer him at that time. Siakam turned it down because he was in a situation if he made All-NBA last season, he would qualify for a supermax (35% of teams salary cap). Grange stated.

In the recent weeks, the steam between Siakam’s desired destination to Indiana became louder and louder. Tyrese Haliburton is a huge part of that because of his unselfishness, energy, passion, and fun he brings every single night to the Pacers.

There were questions surrounding the return the Raptors would get for a 29-year-old forward in a contract year.

One league insider told Grange, “There’s a point in these things where the leverage shifts. Instead of the team holding the cards and calling the shots, all of a sudden they’re left with a player who is about to be a free agent, has all the say about where he’s going to go, and you have owners asking questions and media asking questions and management has no good answers.”

Securing three first-round picks for an organization like Toronto that has found diamonds in the rough underneath President Masai Ujiri. Additionally, Toronto could package together those picks to move up in a relatively weak 2024 draft. Finally, acquiring a tradeable asset like Bruce Brown to gain more draft capital or a desired player in return, seems like a win for the Raptors.

For Indiana, they finally add a wing that can alleviate some of the pressure on Haliburton nightly. Also, Siakam brings playoff experience and leadership that is beneficial to an inexperienced Pacers team with a veteran head coach. Finally, and most importantly, Indiana is somewhere top players want to come and the front office took advantage of it.

To listen to Jake Query and Jimmy Cook’s conversation with Michael Grange, download the podcast containing the conversation below! You can always listen to the Query & Company from 12pm-3pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan. You can also watch and interact with the show by going to the 107.5 The Fan YouTube Channel.

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