Raptors and Warriors may be fixed by this Pascal Siakam trade: Toronto’s reasons for accepting and rejecting the Klay Thompson package

The Raptors and Warriors are two teams that are clearly in need of shake-ups.

Toronto is looking like it may not even make the Play-In Tournament and faces many of the same issues it did last season — not enough shooting and an offense that ranks in the bottom third of the league.

Splash Brothers score 64 in Warriors 129-117 win over Raptors - Golden State Of Mind

Golden State is wasting one of the few precious remaining years of Stephen Curry’s prime. Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins have looked like shells of themselves, resulting in a disappointing below .500 record after a 6-2 start to the season.

There are some obvious trade candidates for both teams. Pascal Siakam’s name has been in the rumor mill for a long time now, most recently by The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Charania wrote that teams believe “now, more than ever, either Siakam or [O.G.] Anunoby could be traded by the Feb. 8 deadline.”

The Warriors have a couple of contracts that could bring in another piece to help them. Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins are both on big deals. Paul has been vital to the team’s bench, though, and Wiggins has three years left on a four-year, $109 million deal that is negative value.

How about Klay Thompson then? The Warriors couldn’t come to terms on an extension with him, so he will be a free agent this summer. It would have been unthinkable to trade him at the start of the year, but he’s been so ineffective that he sat in crunch time of a 119-116 loss to the Suns. Given his $43.2 million expiring salary, he’s the easiest guy for the team to move.

Here’s a trade idea that I ran by our NBA staff.

2020-21 Player Review: Pascal Siakam - Raptors Republic

This Pascal Siakam trade could fix Raptors and Warriors

Raptors get:

  • Klay Thompson
  • Jonathan Kuminga
  • Moses Moody
  • 2026, 2028 second-round picks (via Hawks)

Warriors get:

  • Pascal Siakam
  • Otto Porter Jr.
  • Thaddeus Young

Does this trade make sense?

Here’s what two of our writers, Scott Rafferty and Gil McGregor, think, followed by my own opinion.

Why the Raptors say yes

It’s not going to get much better than this for the Raptors.

Toronto is in dire need of change, and moving on from Siakam to bring in two young talents would be a solid commitment to building around Scottie Barnes. To start, both Kuminga and Moody are 21 years old, so they’re on the same developmental timeline as Barnes. Stockpiling as much young talent as possible is proving to be a solid rebuild strategy. Just look at this year’s Orlando Magic team.

Both Kuminga and Moody have had moments with the Warriors, but it is much harder for young players to develop in such high-leverage situations. Since arriving at Golden State, the team has had real title aspirations, which can take a toll on the psyche of a young player. Having an opportunity to play freely under a coach like Darko Rajakovic, who is known for player development, could help both players reach their potential as pros and mold them into pieces that fit what’s already in place.

As a bonus, Barnes and Moody spent a year as teammates during their senior year at Montverde Academy in Florida. There’s pre-existing chemistry there.

While Thompson is not who he once was, he’s far from a throw-in — assuming he’d stay with the team and not receive a contract buyout. Sure, Thompson is shooting a career-low 34.3 percent from deep, but as a career 41.4 percent 3-point shooter, he’d help Toronto with its biggest issue. And is there a better player to help teach Raptors rookie Gradey Dick about the ins and outs of being a marksman in the league than Thompson?

Time is winding down to make a deal and Toronto wouldn’t see many offers better than this one, if any.

Why the Raptors say no

This is almost a yes for me.

Thompson isn’t who he used to be, but he’s still one of the better shooters in the NBA. He’d address a big need for a Raptors team that currently ranks dead-last in 3-point percentage. (Plus, like Gil said, having Dick learn from him would be quite the luxury.) Moody’s minutes have been up and down, but he can space the floor and looks like he’s going to have a long career as, at the very least, a very solid rotational player.

The tough part of this trade for me is Kuminga. I still believe Kuminga and think he has the potential to be special, but I’m not sure he’s the answer for the Raptors long-term.

One of Toronto’s biggest issues right now is that its three best players — Siakam, Anunoby and Barnes — operate in similar ways. With Kuminga also being a forward with a shaky jump shot who wants the ball in his hands, adding him probably isn’t going to give Barnes the type of runway he needs to reach his full potential, which is what trading Siakam would be all about.

If Thompson was a bit younger, Kuminga had made more of a leap at this point or the package included a first-rounder as opposed to two seconds, it’s a different conversation. It would obviously be nice to get more in return for Siakam, a two-time All-Star in the prime of his career, but the Raptors might not have much leverage with him entering unrestricted free agency in the offseason.

Pascal Siakam

Final verdict

If the Warriors can put emotional ties to Thompson aside, I think that this makes a lot of sense for both sides.

For the Warriors, they have been getting destroyed due to a lack of size and a dropoff in their defense. A frontcourt of Draymond Green and Siakam would wreak havoc defensively. Siakam could also slot into a secondary scoring role, which the Warriors desperately need and fits him better. He was extremely effective playing second fiddle next to Kawhi Leonard during the Raptors’ championship run.

That’s ultimately what this trade comes down to for the Warriors. Do they make a Kawhi-type of trade for a potential one-year Siakam rental? You always have a chance to win a ring with a top-five player, and they have that in Curry. They’re not going to have many more chances left, so they should capitalize.

Porter and Young are nice throw-ins as well. Both are on expiring contracts, so if they don’t work, the team can move on. Porter was a huge component of their last championship team and Young is the perfect type of high-feel veteran with plus passing that can work in their system of split cuts and movement.

How the Raptors Won Game 3 of the N.B.A. Finals - The New York Times

MORE: What’s going on with the Raptors?

On the Raptors’ side, Thompson can actually help them quite a bit. Even with his decline, he’s still a good shooting threat. He would help facilitate Barnes’ growth by giving the team much better spacing. The Raptors would acquire his Bird Rights, allowing him to be brought back on a cheaper deal this summer.

The main draw would be the young assets. Moody has played very well for the Warriors. While Kuminga is the bigger name and more heralded prospect, Moody is the player with the high floor who could solidify the starting shooting guard spot for the next seven years. He does a little bit of everything, shooting it capably, guarding well and playing hard.

Kuminga is the archetype of the player that Masai Ujiri likes. He’s a great athlete with good size at forward, but his career 34.2 percent from 3 and 28.3 percent this year leaves much to be desired. The No. 7 pick in 2021 still has good potential, and he can get more developmental minutes on the Raptors.

 

The Warriors have a 2028 first-round pick available to trade instead of the second-rounders if the draft assets don’t line up. The important thing is that the structure of this deal gives the Warriors win-now players to make one last run around Curry and helps the Raptors build a better team for the future.

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