If there is one thing that the Los Angeles Lakers have proven over the last 12 months it is that a team can drastically improve its championship chances at the trade deadline. After a strong offseason in the 2023 summer, the team has left itself open to the same result during the 2024 trade deadline.
The Lakers brought back last year’s core that led the team to the Western Conference Finals while also giving themselves a lot of flexibility at the deadline. Heck, the Lakers all but confirmed that D’Angelo Russell would be traded at some point with the contract that he signed this summer.
There are some names that Lakers fans have started to circle as potential deadline targets. One such name is Pascal Siakam, who is entering the last year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors with an extension seeming unlikely.
In theory, Siakam’s value at the trade deadline wouldn’t be very high as he would be a half-season rental for a contending team looking to win it all. In that sense, it seems feasible that the Lakers could offer Toronto enough to make a deal happen (so long that other teams don’t outbid LA).
The problem is that Toronto has been stubborn in trading its players in the past (just look at Fred VanVleet) and that trend appears to be continuing with Siakam. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (subscription required), the Raptors not only got an offer that is better than what the Lakers can offer for Siakam but turned it down and raised the price.
"“Atlanta has offered a package centered around De’Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin and draft compensation to Toronto for Siakam, league sources say. But the Raptors are believed to have upped the price on any possible deal at each turn.”"
The Pascal Siakam dream is officially dead for the Lakers.
Atlanta’s reported offer for Siakam is by no means a grandfather offer, but it is at the very least on par with what the Lakers could offer. A Los Angeles offer at the deadline would look something like D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jalen Hood-Schifino and picks.
If Toronto is already raising the price on Atlanta, knowing the team’s history, it will continue to do the same at the deadline. If the Lakers are going to trade for Siakam it would probably take Austin Reaves and there is no chance that Rob Pelinka would ever make that move.
It is a shame, really, as Siakam would be such a solid fit next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James, even as a rental. No team in the league could match the size the Lakers would have in that lineup and best of all, Siakam would work perfectly next to Davis as someone who can space the floor.
The defensive duo of Davis and Siakam would be a menace for other teams and this would give the Lakers their best shot at slowing down Nikola Jokic. The road to the NBA Finals runs through Jokic and the Nuggets and this is the kind of big lineup that could give the two-time MVP some troubles.
Even if it meant trading Hachimura and Russell, the Lakers could run a starting five of Gabe Vincent, Reaves, LeBron, Siakam and Anthony Davis. That is a championship-winning starting five if we have ever seen one. Unfortunately, it will never come to fruition.