Report: Pacers 'actively engaged' in trade talks for Pascal Siakam after dropping back-to-back games
The rumors of the Pacers strong interest in trading for Siakam appear to be turning into reality.
The deal is not finalized, but rarely does a trade get to the ‘sources are reporting’ stage for Shams or Woj and then not go through. Details on what the Pacers will be sending remain the million (well, millions) dollar question. The report indicates Bruce Brown Jr. and three first-round picks are involved. Interesting that Woj has not also reported his version, so this seems like a Masai Ujiri leak to pressure Sacramento or Golden State or some team into upping the ante at the last second.
To make the deal work with Brown, the Pacers would need around $8 million more (along with cap space) to match Siakam’s nearly $38 million salary. Reports earlier indicated the Pacers did not want to part with Jarace Walker or Bennedict Mathurin. Doing some math on the fly, Jalen Smith and Jordan Nwora would work. Obi Toppin may also be an option, as would TJ McConnell. Three first-round picks sounds like the price to avoid including the Pacers two lottery picks.
The dream of a talented AND balanced roster would take a big step forward with this deal, at least in the short term
This relatively easy to answer, needing to look no further than the Pacers loss in Utah on Sunday night when they had no defensive presence to throw at Lauri Markkanen who ate all night until the game was a blowout in the third quarter. Name a quality big wing player and they have enjoyed the Pacers struggles to match up all season long. Siakam can not only defend the position but also force the same player to dig in and defend, as well.
Siakam is averaging over 22 points, 6.3 rebounds and just shy of 5 assists per game for the Raptors who, after already dealing OG Anunoby, appear set to start anew rebuilding around Scottie Barnes and other young players on the roster. In Siakam, the Pacers have another player who can go get a bucket, late in a game when the pacers bogs down. You know, like in the playoffs. That additional threat can open up shooters on the perimeter, as well. Here is a video in which former Pacer CJ Miles discusses (in early December) Siakam’s fit with the Pacers (go to 16:30 mark).
Also, as much as people want to develop young guys and look to the future, I continue to focus on Tyrese Haliburton. You cannot waste any of his six (counting this year) seasons. Hali desperately wants to win and start getting his playoff scars ASAP. The front office is right not to assume they have time to make him happy. Time flies and frustrations mount just as quickly. If for some reason, this deal doesn’t go through, the effort has obviously been strong by the franchise to do what they can to make the deal.
The risk for the Pacers is glaring with Siakam in the last year of his contract and reportedly making noise about not expecting to re-sign with any team that trades for him. Playing and succeeding alongside Haliburton would be the Pacers best negotiation ploy to extend Siakam. Worst-case, the Pacers will have a big chunk of cap space. As Brian Windhorst mentioned on his podcast recently, the Pacers have 5 tradeable first-round picks and 10 seconds. They have two in the upcoming draft, currently sitting in the late teens and late 20s.
While the Pacers have done well in trades, their record drafting impact players has been spotty at best. Using those picks to deal for a key player is why you amass more picks than you can reasonably use. As with the players involved, the details on the picks will be a key part of the deal.
Rocky Road Losses
The Pacers ruined all of the good vibes from their nine win in 10 game stretch, when they ran out of juice during a Rocky Mountain back-to-back, both frustrated by the losses and banged up by the time the two games were over.
On the east side of the Rockies in Denver, the Pacers put up a solid effort against the defending champs, but the Nuggs continued to hold them off for a 117-109 win. The Nuggs had three starters score 25 points, including Nikola Jokic who was an assist shy of a triple-double and Michael Porter Jr. But the big wing, problem matchup (see above) was Aaron Gordon who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
On the back-to-back on the west side of the Wasatch Mountain range, the Pacers simply didn’t have enough for the Utah Jazz. Markkanen was on fire from the tip, scoring early and often over his initial defender, Andrew Nembhard who was giving up way too much size. Without Bruce Brown and Aaron Nesmith to start the game, the Pacers didn’t have many options to turn to. By the end of the game, Bennedict Mathurin (ankle) was out, as was Isaiah Jackson (back), leading to an easy, 132-105 win for the Jazz.
Rick Carlisle turned the bulk of the second half over to his bench which allowed rookies Ben Sheppard and Jarace Walker to play over 25 minutes for the game. Walker was quite active, a little wild at times, but finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, making 2 of 5 3-balls. His mistakes were primarily of the aggressive type, as he was continually hunting for plays to make.
Ben Sheppard had a really rough night shooting the ball, missing all 5 3PAs and making just 1 of 7 shots overall. He also had four fouls, surely not his best game. However, I’m still very intrigued with Shep’s game and how it could develop him into a quality role player in the rotation. He is learning the pro game, but I feel his inconsistent shot will become a threat and his defensive disposition will always be a positive. Could see him filling Buddy Hield’s role off the bench, assuming Hield is not extended.
The Pacers move on to Sacramento to play the Kings on Thursday which will be the first of three games in four days to wrap up the roadie. Which players will return to the Fieldhouse is suddenly a question for which we await the answer.
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