Trade Candidate Series: Can the Clippers find another Raptors star?

As the first installment of the “Trade Candidates Series” describes, we’ll take a look at a few expansion-eligible players who could possibly make sense for the LA Clippers as trade options. Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors was the first, but we didn’t finish here at all.

“Who are you taking next year?” Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse joked during his pre-game media briefing before a game in Los Angeles against the Clippers on March 16.

The nurse was obviously joking, but maybe that’s a valid question at this point. In 2019, the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard away from the Raptors. A year later, the Clippers signed Serge Ibaka in the middle of exception. Last season, they traded for Norman Powell.

Although Powell wasn’t with the Raptors at the time the Clippers made a move for him, he’s someone the Raptors had on their roster recently. But he also might not be the last Raptor (or former Raptor) to join the Clippers.

Toronto star Pascal Siakam is set to extend his contract this offseason. Siakam is under contract for two more years – the upcoming 2022-23 season and the 2023-24 season. Siakam, 28, owes $35.4 million and $37.9 million, respectively, over the final two years of the deal.

By the time an extension comes into effect for Siakam, he will be 30 years old. Siakam averaged 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals last season. The last three categories were career highs for him. Siakam also shot 49.4% from the field, including 34.4% from 3s.

When Siakam signed his initial contract extension with the Raptors in October 2019, it turned out there was designated rookie extension language in the deal that would trigger up to 30% of the cap if he achieved the All-NBA distinction during the 2019-20 season. Luckily, Siakam made the All-NBA Second Team that year. As a result, his contract was for four years, $137 million.

Now Siakam is due for another extension. The date he will be eligible for it is anytime between October 1 and the last day before the start of the 2022-23 season. According to HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan, Siakam is eligible for a maximum extension of three years, $139 million.

Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell, teammates for 305 games in Toronto, could they meet in Los Angeles?
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Siakam is an interesting case because he could earn the “supermax” designation – also known as the Designated Veteran Player Extension – if he doesn’t sign an extension right away.

The 28-year-old is about to enter his seventh season in the league, and it’s probably the most pivotal season in terms of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Only players who have been in the league for at least seven years and are still with their original team can achieve supermax status, but only if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Make an All-NBA team in season before signing extension
  2. Form an All-NBA team in two of the previous three seasons
  3. Won the NBA Most Valuable Player award in one of the previous three seasons
  4. Won NBA DPOY last season -WHERE- two of the last three seasons

For Siakam, he’s still with the team that originally had him (Toronto). And he is about to start his seventh year in the league, so he would be eligible for the supermax should he makes an All-NBA team or wins MVP in 2022-23. It creates a really sticky situation for the Raptors and for himself, if we’re being honest.

Siakam probably won’t sign an extension with the Raptors this offseason simply because it makes more sense financially to bet on himself and see where that might lead. That is, of course, if the supermax designation is important to him. But it could also be something Toronto could try to avoid.

Ever since the NBA put supermax language in the ABC, we’ve seen certain scenarios creep in with players who were soon to be eligible for this type of extension. The Sacramento Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins ​​just months before Cousins ​​could sign that deal immediately comes to mind. Months before Anthony Davis could sign a supermax with the New Orleans Pelicans, he asked for a trade. He eventually ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard was eligible for a supermax extension with the San Antonio Spurs in 2018 before eventually asking to be traded, so it’s not an ultra-rare occurrence to happen in the league. Just because a supermax might be in your future doesn’t mean you (a) want it with this team or (b) that team wants to give it to you.

2019 NBA Finals - Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors

Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam won a title together in Toronto. Would a revival of LA deliver that of the Clippers?
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

This all comes back to Pascal Siakam and what a possible supermax extension could mean for the Raptors — that is, of course, if they deem it safe to give it to him.

As mentioned earlier, Siakam will be 30 by the time any overtime begins for him. For a team like the Raptors, do they want to let the box get fired on the road another year when Siakam could, through stellar play, propel themselves into the supermax lineup?

The Raptors would obviously benefit from this season on the field, but they would also have to shell out for the future. Guard Fred VanVleet is also eligible for an extension and has a player option for the 2023-24 season. If he VanVleet were to retire, many contenders would line up, especially with at least 11 teams coming into the next offseason with at least around $20 million of functional cap space.

What VanVleet decides could also impact Siakam’s future. VanVleet’s departure would put the Raptors in a worse position than they currently are, and Siakam could find himself in a trade deal that could see another team sign him up for a contract extension — but not supermax since, as previously stated, which is only available through the player’s home team.

VanVleet has been eligible for the extension since July 8, but it’s not yet clear when – or if – VanVleet will sign the deal.

Athleticism Eric Koreen noted in a recent article that VanVleet and Siakam signing extensions this offseason might not be a slam dunk for the Raptors.

And yet, given the financial reality of the NBA, VanVleet and Siakam would have some logic on their side if they decided to push their next paydays into the future.

If the Raptors decide that maximizing trade value with regard to Siakam is the best idea, which might be the case since any team that acquires him would be guaranteed two years of Siakam before an extension takes effect, they could get a pretty solid payout for the talented striker.

As for the Clippers, would Los Angeles have enough in a possible trade package for Siakam? It’s honestly very hard to say. Siakam fits much better into the team’s championship window than he fits into Toronto’s at this point, so acquiring him would be a major boon to the Clippers’ title chances, now and in the future. future seasons.

The best way for the Clippers to get Siakam would be for Siakam himself to want out and list the Clippers as his preferred destination, if he feels the Raptors aren’t going to give him a potential supermax deal in the future. The Clippers can’t offer him the supermax, but they might be more comfortable shelling out a max extension — which, as of this writing, is three years, $139 million — whatever that number is at the moment. ‘coming.

Toronto Raptors vs. LA Clippers

Pascal Siakam’s game would fit perfectly alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers have trade assets that could appeal to a team like the Raptors, such as up-and-coming players like Terance Mann and Brandon Boston Jr., as well as a 2028 first-round pick and even the right to trade in 2029.

However, there is no real major headliner that a Siakam package would likely require. Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris Sr., while useful offensive players, aren’t enough even with Mann, Boston, an unprotected first and an added pick trade on top.

If you’re the Clippers and you’re interested in acquiring Siakam, you’re probably hoping he’ll hand over an extension with the Raptors this offseason and head into the 2023-24 season as an unrestricted free agent pending. . Players whose deals often expire don’t get the same price for selling teams as players with extra years – i.e. the trade of Dejounte Murray for the San Antonio Spurs against the return of Jerami Grant for the Detroit Pistons.

With Murray, he has two years left on his contract and is currently eligible for an extension with the Atlanta Hawks. The Spurs received three first-round picks — a Top 16 protected 2023 Charlotte Hornets first, plus 2025 and 2027 unprotected Atlanta first — and a trade pick.

In Grant’s case, he’s an unrestricted free agent pending. He is also eligible for an extension with the Portland Trail Blazers. But the Pistons first received a Top 4 protected from the 2025 Milwaukee Bucks, plus two second-round picks. This Bucks pick, assuming Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be who he is now, won’t be very valuable.

The Spurs struck while the iron was hot, and thanks to Murray’s extra year of control, San Antonio got a good shot for him. On the other hand, the Pistons waited and the hot stove went cold, leading them to accept a lesser offer now than they could have gotten one not too long ago.

It would be in the Clippers’ best interest if Siakam enters the final year of his current contract with an unresolved situation. Will he? It looks like it will. And that could make him someone the team has a chance to acquire in the not too distant future.

If the Clippers grabbed Siakam from The Great White North to partner Kawhi Leonard, Nick Nurse would have known another useful player leaving for sunnier pastures.

And this is not a joke.

You can catch Justin Russo’s daily LA Clippers content by subscribing to his Patreon stream, and you can also follow him on Twitter at @FlyByKnite.

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