Pacers Must Trade for Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby to Help Playoff Bid amid NBA Rumors

Pacers Must Trade for Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby to Help Playoff Bid amid NBA Rumors

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 18: Pascal Siakam #43 and O.G. Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors watch a replay of Anuoby's dunk on the big screen during the first half of their NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Scotiabank Arena on March 18, 2023 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Cole Burston/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers gave the basketball world a glimpse of the bright future the team has by way of its appearance in the NBA In-Season Tournament Championship game.

To get there, the team knocked off the top four seeds from last year’s Eastern Conference playoffs (Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, and Milwaukee) and played the eventual tournament-winning Lakers hard.

It was during that finale, though, that it became clear that the team has a stud point guard in Tyrese Haliburton but lacks a legitimate and consistent No. 2 behind him.

Enter the Toronto Raptors, whose season has not gone according to plan, with a record of 9-14 and no realistic chance of competing for an NBA title this season, and two potential trade pieces in OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam at their disposal.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported, « Teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers are expected suitors for Siakam or Anunoby but believe Siakam appears to be the likelier player to be dealt, league sources tell The Athletic. »

He continued, « Siakam, 29, is earning $37.9 million in the last year of his Raptors contract this season while Anunoby, 26, has a $19.9 million player option for next season that he will almost assuredly decline to enter free agency. »

The power forward Siakam is averaging 20.7 points a game, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 34.4 minutes. Those numbers are all significantly better than what the Pacers are getting out of Obi Toppin this year, with the exception being shooting percentage.

Siakam is a dismal 20.7 from beyond the arc and just 49.7 from the paint while Toppin is shooting 35.7 from the three-point line and 61.1 percent in the paint.

Anunoby is scoring 15.6 a game, with 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and just over a steal at the small forward position. Bruce Brown’s numbers are not that far off at 12.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.

Considering Anunoby is likely to elect free agency after the season, it is a tough sell for any team to trade roster depth and potential draft picks for a player who is essentially a rental.

Siakam is also in the final year of his deal but is a player who could come in right away and pay dividends as a complimentary piece to Haliburton.

He still manages to get his points and boards, even if the shooting percentage is not there this season, and averaging nearly five assists per game, can dish the ball and create opportunities for his teammates.

He brings a veteran presence to a locker room that is young, hungry, and looking to establish itself in the same conversation as those teams it defeated in the tournament. Haliburton cannot do it alone and the fact that the Pacers have checked in on both Anunoby and Siakam suggests the front office realizes that.

Acquiring either player will not be easy, especially in the case of Siakam, for whom the Pacers would have to clear some space thanks to his contract ($37,893,408) and their limited cap space ($5,851,626), but the team has proven the ability to compete against the best in the conference and management owes it to the players to put the necessary pieces in place to let them do so.

If the team can acquire either Raptors veteran and do so without gutting the roster or mortgaging its future for a player it could realistically only have for the remainder of this season, Indiana should make it happen and capitalize on the budding star it has in Haliburton, who could very well be for them what the team has not had since the days of Reggie Miller: a franchise centerpiece.

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