In July, the Toronto Raptors lost Kawhi Leonard to free agency less than a month after he led them to their first championship in franchise history and was named the NBA Finals MVP. Keeping the rest of a championship-winning team together will require some big contracts, and it seems Pascal Siakam has already set his terms.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the reigning Most Improved Player is seeking a max contract from the Raptors. Per Charania, Siakam’s preference is to stay in Toronto.
Raptors’ rising star Pascal Siakam is seeking a maximum contract extension in discussions with the Raptors, league sources said; otherwise preparing for a 2020 free agency market that would have the restricted free agent as a top player available. Siakam is eligible for either a four-year, $130 million max deal, or a five-year, $170 million max. So far in the 2016 draft extension class, Ben Simmons and Jamal Murray have received five-year max extensions.
It should come as no surprise that Siakam wants a max contract extension. Per 36 minutes, Siakam averaged 19.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a steal per game last season. He was able to maintain those numbers through 24 games in the postseason.
Siakam could also be the best forward on the market next summer if Davis re-signs with the Lakers on the first day of free agency. In other words, if the Raptors don’t sign him to a max contract, someone will.
That being said, the Raptors probably won’t give Siakam the max contract he’s seeking until next summer to maximize their spending power in free agency. Because Siakam was the No. 27 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he has a relatively small, $7.05 million cap hold and the Raptors will be able to go over the cap to re-sign him using his early bird rights.
That means the Raptors could spend more than $80 million in free agency before having to re-sign Siakam, assuming he doesn’t sign an offer sheet with another team. That’s enough cash to re-sign some combination of Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet, or they could use their cap space to lure Raptors fan favorite DeMar DeRozan back to Toronto in 2020.
The point is the Raptors will have options next summer, but only if they hold off on re-signing Siakam, and they likely will for that reason. As long as that’s communicated with Siakam, they should be able to get a deal done fairly quickly when the time comes.