The Indiana Pacers have been one of the biggest surprises in the Eastern Conference this season. Not only did the Pacers reach the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament Championship Game, but Indiana has quietly compiled an impressive 23-17 overall record through the first 40 games.
Midway through the regular season, the Pacers sit in sixth place in the current Eastern Conference standings and appear to be on the verge of making the leap towards becoming a playoff team in 2024.
Now, the front office is ready to go all-in on the current roster by engaging in trade talks with the Toronto Raptors centered around power forward Pascal Siakam.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Pacers are reportedly working out a deal for Siakam that could send Bruce Brown and three first-round picks to Toronto in exchange for the former All-Star forward.
Brown, a free agent signing in the offseason, is the Pacers’ highest-paid player at $22 million. He also owns a team option for next year valued at $23 million.
Is Siakam Really Worth 3 First-Round Picks?
The Pacers trade package reportedly involves Brown, a salary filler, plus three future first-round picks.
If Siakam is going to be worth the price of admission, he will likely have to sign a long-term deal to stay in Indiana before the offseason. Otherwise, it will be a steep price to pay for a rental and a short postseason run.
Indiana is slated to have two first-round picks in the 2024 NBA Draft. The Pacers will receive the least favorable of OKC’s 2024 first-rounders, which will likely be the L.A. Clippers pick towards the end of Round 1. The Pacers also have their own first-rounders in 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2028.
Many Raptors fans were hoping a deal with Indiana would bring back former No. 6 overall pick Benedict Mathurin, one of the top up-and-coming Canadian players in the NBA.
Despite playing fewer minutes in Year 2, Mathurin has become a more efficient scorer and has flashed improved 3-point shooting. The 21-year-old is currently averaging 14.6 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting from the field and 37.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc, both career highs.
What Other Teams Could Acquire Siakam via Trade?
According to sources, trade talks between the Pacers and Raptors appear to be moving rather quickly. However, no deal has been finalized or agreed upon just yet and there a few other teams in the running to acquire Spicy P’s services.
The Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks are among the other teams that have inquired about trading for Siakam, who is in the final year of his four-year, $136.9 million deal.
Siakam is reportedly against re-signing with the Kings, which has put a halt on potential trade talks between the two teams.
Given that most teams will want to acquire Siakam as more than just a half-season rental, the Raptors’ power forward has some leverage for potential landing spots.