After a summer in which he was one of the most instrumental pieces on a championship team, and followed it up shortly after by earning Most Improved Player honours, it’s hard for anyone to claim they had a better or busier summer than Pascal Siakam.
Yesterday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke news that Pascal Siakam had agreed to a four-year, $129.9 million dollar maximum level contract extension with the Toronto Raptors. According to Bobby Marks, the breakdown of the contract is as follows. The extension came shortly after the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets in their final pre-season game on Friday. Though Terence Davis stole the show, Siakam had a solid outing, and while his numbers might state otherwise, he continued to build on his résumé that he started writing in Tokyo. His competence to create for himself has improved drastically, as has his touch from outside, and his ability to make plays for his teammates.
While some may argue that the extension is premature and that the team should have waited to match any offer Siakam gets in the summer when he hits restricted free agency, there’s no concrete benefit either way. Getting it done now gives the Raptors front office more certainty moving forward should they look to make a deal at the February trade deadline, whereas waiting would have allowed the team to see another full season of what Siakam is capable of as the #1 option on the team. Regardless (barring an unexpected extreme downfall in his play this season, which seems highly unlikely), he would have commanded the same contract either way. At least now, fans have the peace of mind knowing that the budding star will spend the rest of his prime North of the border.
Siakam’s new deal in addition to Kyle Lowry’s recent extension essentially puts the Raptors out of play for 2020 free agency, assuming they work to retain Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka (if all three are still on the roster) as they’re all set to hit unrestricted free agency.
Depending on how masterfully Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster are able to work out the sizes and lengths of each of their contracts (in addition to Lowry’s, who will be expiring the summer after), the Raptors could still be in play for the free agency class of 2021. Currently, the team has 2 max slots available to look at a pool of players which should feature the likes of LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard.
For now, revel in the fact that the reigning MIP who is still improving at an exponential rate is a Raptor for years to come. He’s just barely learning how to play basketball too.