The Golden State Warriors may have caught an unexpected break in their bid to land an All-Star big man.
Golden State has consistently emerged as a contender for Pascal Siakam, and an insider believes that an offseason procedure could give the Warriors a leg up in snagging him. The move could help Golden State in its attempt to rapidly rebound from back-to-back seasons that ended short of the playoffs and jump back into title contention with the expected return of Klay Thompson.
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Procedure Could Help Warriors
As Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area noted, Siakam will be sidelined for roughly five months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. He noted that this could either push the Warriors away from the talented big man or create a smoother path to landing him.
“So on one hand, this injury makes you wonder if Golden State will be more reluctant to go after him,” Shiller wrote. “But on the flip side, perhaps the Warriors wouldn’t have to give up as much to acquire him.”
Shiller expects that it would still be costly to land Siakam, with starting wing Andrew Wiggins the most likely one to be included in the deal. He noted that Wiggins is from the Toronto area, so the Raptors may have an additional motivation in going after him. Whether the Warriors would be willing to part with Wiggins is another question, he added.
“But Wiggins just completed the best all-around season of his career, and there is reason to believe he will be even better once Klay Thompson returns,” Shiller wrote.
It is also unclear how long it could take Siakam to complete rehab and return back to his previous form. As ESPN noted, the injury suffered on May 8 cut short a strong season by Siakam, who just two days prior had tied a career-high with 44 points against the Washington Wizards. If his rehab goes according to plan, Siakam would be able to return sometime in early November, roughly two weeks after the planned start of the 2021-22 season.
Warriors Expected to Upgrade
Whether Siakam ends up as a trade target or not, the Warriors are expected to make some moves to upgrade in preparation for Thompson’s return. Insider Tim Kawakami of The Athletic wrote that the team was likely to target veteran players who fit alongside Thompson fellow Splash Brother Steph Curry.
“They want a few hardy souls who can get a pass from Curry, read the defense, take one dribble and either lead a teammate directly to the basket or finish at the rim. Players who are dying to do all of this,” Kawakami wrote.
Kawakami suggested that players like Rudy Gay or Nic Batum would see the strongest fits, and called Siakam a “pie-in-the-sky option” for an offseason upgrade. He also suggested that Wiggins would be included in the trade, but ultimately didn’t think the Raptors would pull the trigger.
“But I don’t think the Raptors are ready for a total rebuild and I don’t know if the Warriors could get him if they did,” he wrote. “They’d have to include Wiggins in any offer for Siakam, for salary-matching purposes, and of course, Wiggins is Canadian, so there’s an inroad. But smart teams keep players like Siakam, they don’t trade them. And the Raptors are a very smart team.”