OT: The newest Pacer: Pascal Siakam

The Indiana Pacers welcome Pascal Siakam to the team. Photo courtesy of the Indiana Pacers.

TREVOR FOX | SPORTS REPORTER | trfox@butler.edu 

Overtime, or “OT,” is an opinion column series where the Collegian takes national sports headlines or polarizing topics and gives them a Butler-centric angle

What happened 

Pascal Siakam is finally on the move. The 2019 NBA champion ended up in Indianapolis after he was moved in a three-team deal. Siakam’s trade interest picked up steam in the last few weeks with many teams such as the Warriors, Kings, Hawks and Mavericks all showing interest in the 29-year-old forward. Ultimately, Indy rose to the top to claim the sought-after champion. Bruce Brown, the Pacers’ big acquisition this past offseason, will be sent north of the border along with a handful of picks and a couple of other throw-in players in exchange for the two-time all-star. 

Trade details 

Indiana Pacers receive: Pascal Siakam and 2024 second-round pick (NOP) 

Toronto Raptors receive: ​​Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, Kira Lewis, 2024 Pacers first-round pick, 2026 Pacers first-round pick and the lesser of the 2024 Utah/Houston/LA Clippers/Oklahoma City first round-pick swap 

New Orleans Pelicans receive: Cash considerations 

Why they did it – Indiana Pacers 

The Pacers got their second star. Indiana walks out of this trade with the best player in the deal, who is a legitimate second option alongside superstar guard Tyrese Haliburton

Indy has been looking for a permanent player at the power forward position ever since they sent Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento two years ago. While they expected Jarace Walker, the eighth overall pick this past offseason, or Obi Toppin, an offseason acquisition from New York, to fill the void at the power forward position, neither one has lived up to the caliber of player that the Pacers have been looking for. Walker has struggled to see the floor and Toppin has not looked great on the defensive end, neither of which should be problems for Siakam. 

Junior applied business technology major Charlie Steel believes Siakam is a great fit. 

“He’s everything [the Pacers] need,” Steel said. 

Steel went on to talk about how Siakam would dominate in transition for his new team, especially alongside Haliburton. 

Siakam’s offensive fit in Indy should be seamless as his downhill attacking ability projects to mesh well with the Pacers, who rank second in the league for pace. Siakam will not only help the Pacers put the ball in the basket, which they do better than any other team, but he will also help on the defensive end as a willing, long, athletic defender. 

Sophomore economics major Aidan Finneran thinks Siakam will also help Rick Carlisle’s team score in the half-court. 

“Siakam’s pace of play adds a new dynamic to the Pacers’ offense,” Finneran said. 

The Pacers currently sit at the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and look to climb in the standings after the acquisition of Siakam. Before this deal, Indiana was in the tier of borderline playoff teams, but now they seem to have solidified themselves as a consensus playoff team with a much better chance of winning a series in the postseason. 

Gavin Arkinstall, a junior marketing and finance double major, is a little intimidated by the move. Arkinstall, a Boston sports fan, isn’t looking forward to a potential meeting between the Pacers and his favorite team. 

“[The trade is] bad for the Celtics,” Arkinstall said. 

This upcoming offseason is what makes this trade iffy for the Pacers. ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Pascal Siakam is going to have a large say in where he’s going to get traded due to his free-agent status this offseason. Wojnarowski said, “If you are trading for Pascal Siakam, you have to be ready to max him out [and] you’ve got to know he wants to be there.” 

NBA insider Marc Stein of The New York Times agreed with Wojnarowki’s report about the risk of trading for Siakam. Stein stated, “Word is Siakam, if he’s dealt, is unlikely to sign off on a two-year extension and would prefer, again, to proceed to unrestricted free agency.” 

Siakam is a free agent this offseason and is expected to sign a contract this summer worth around $50 million annually, which is the maximum he can be offered. He is a fantastic player, but is he worth that kind of money? That is a question Indiana executives will have to answer soon enough. 

As for the assets that the Pacers sent away, they didn’t lose much. Brown, although a solid two-way player, was only a one-year rental anyway, and he is not nearly on the same tier as Siakam as a player. Nwora is essentially non-value, and the Pacers get to keep Walker and Benedict Mathurin, both Pacer lottery picks over the last two seasons. The picks that the Pacers sent out for this summer will be picks in the 20s in an already weak draft class. The 2026 first-round pick is a different story as it may turn into a legitimate piece if things go south in Indianapolis. 

Grade: B 

Why they did it – Toronto Raptors 

Siakam was the highest coveted and most likely asset to get moved at this year’s deadline due to his expiring contract. Out of the deal with Indiana and New Orleans, Toronto received Brown, a few picks and two salary-filling players in Nwora and Lewis. Lewis is a former lottery pick that Toronto is taking a flier on despite his shortcomings so far in his career, and Nwora will more than likely not make the Raptors’ regular rotation. 

Brown is the interesting piece in the deal for the Raptors. The sixth man for the NBA champions last year is drawing interest from many teams as his high-level defense, open shot-making skills and ability to attack closeouts would be an asset for any team. Toronto flipping Brown for picks or a promising young asset would be ideal, as he doesn’t seem to contribute much to a Raptors team prioritizing youth development. 

Siakam was unlikely to remain with the Raptors past this season, as Toronto didn’t want to offer him the money that he desired. With that in mind, getting any assets for Siakam is a plus for the Raptors, as they could’ve gotten nothing in return if they held onto him through the deadline. 

Despite that, this is not great value for Siakam. Brown, two picks in the late first round, and another first-rounder is not a good return for a player as talented as Siakam. If the Raptors were not to re-sign Siakam, he should’ve been moved prior to the start of this season, or during last season, when they could’ve gotten exponentially better value for him. 

There were rumors during the past offseason that the Raptors declined an offer where they would exchange Siakam to the Portland Trail Blazers for the third overall pick Scoot Henderson. If that rumor were to be true, the return that the Raptors received compared to Henderson would be absolutely dreadful. 

Grade: C- 

Why they did it – New Orleans Pelicans 

The Pelicans get closer to being under the salary cap by offloading Lewis’ nearly $6 million salary — meaning they saved $18 million by moving below the luxury tax line, ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks reported. To put it simply, the Pelicans saved millions of dollars, clearing cap space. 

New Orleans essentially cuts Lewis — who was not in the Pelicans healthy rotation — without any financial repercussions in exchange for a second-round pick. The deal is not great value considering Lewis was drafted with the thirteenth pick in 2020, but Lewis’ departure from New Orleans was overdue. 

Grade: C+


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