Proposed Trade Would Send Out Ayton, Bring Raptors Star to Bolster Suns

Pascal Siakam, right, and Deandre Ayton of the Suns

Getty Pascal Siakam, right, and Deandre Ayton of the Suns

Just over a year ago, Pascal Siakam was coming off a high, having won an NBA championship with the Raptors  and earning his first spot on an NBA All-Star team. He averaged 22.9 points and 7.3 rebounds, and shot a very respectable 35.9% from the 3-point line, addressing one of the weaknesses in his game.

And then the 2020-21 season happened. Siakam’s numbers were not bad—21.9 points, 7.2 rebounds—but he showed very little growth, regressed as a shooter (29.7% from the 3-point line) and had his season ended by a torn labrum in his shoulder, which required surgery. Oh, and the Raptors stunk, going 27-45 on the year.

Now, the belief around the league is that as the Raptors look to retool going forward, Siakam could be had by a trade. For the Suns, looking to add firepower—and not rest on their laurels—after a trip to the Finals—this could present an opportunity.

According to a piece of speculation from Bleacher Report, the Suns could be an interesting landing spot for Siakam in a trade.

Bleacher Report: Suns Have Assets to Land Pascal Siakam

The priority in the Suns’ offseason, of course, is retaining point guard Chris Paul, who is likely to opt out of the one year remaining on his contract, worth $44 million. Paul is likely seeking a three-year deal from the Suns.

But bolstering the lineup will be important. Several teams will see improvement next season, either through better health (the Lakers, the Clippers, the Warriors, the Nuggets) or through projected offseason moves (the Warriors, the Mavericks). If the Suns hope to hold their perch atop the West, they will need to be aggressive this summer.

Here’s how B/R sizes up a potential Siakam deal, which would seem to center around Deandre Ayton:

Phoenix has the resources to meet that (future assets) criteria. Mikal Bridges should be considered untouchable in any deal that doesn’t net the team a top-20 player, but the Suns have Deandre Ayton, Cam Johnson, Jalen Smith (last year’s No. 10 pick), the No. 29 selection (post-draft) and most of their future first-round picks to dangle.

Toronto’s view of Ayton determines the fate of this framework. He has shown the ability to anchor a strong defense if he isn’t forced to play up too high, and he doesn’t cannibalize touches on offense. Still, his flaws are well-documented. Giannis Antetokounmpo chewed him up and spit him out in the NBA Finals, and Ayton still needs to grasp the finer points of help-and-recover defense.

Potential Suns Package for Siakam

Ayton averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds this season and was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. The Suns would be reluctant to give up a player like that, at age 22, but his inclusion might be necessary to put together a credible package for Siakam.

Best of Pascal Siakam – 2021 HighlightsBest of Pascal Siakam – 2021 Highlights Subscribe Instagram #NBA #PascalSiakam #Raptors All clips property of the NBA. No copyright infringement is intended. All videos are edited to follow the "Free Use" guideline of YouTube.2021-02-18T22:00:14Z

Would the Suns also be willing to give up Cam Johnson and Jalen Smith in a deal? They would have to include Dario Saric to make the numbers work, but a package of Ayton, Johnson, Smith and Saric would be tempting for Toronto.

The Suns would be taking a risk, not only in giving up that much young talent, but in the financial commitment required for Siakam. He signed a four-year, $130 million extension in 2019, and still has $100 million on the deal for the next three years.

It would be risky, and the deal is only a proposal. But for the Suns to stay on top of the West, some risks may be needed.



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