By The Canadian Press on January 17, 2024.
TORONTO – Pascal Siakam, a two-time all-star and one of the last remaining ties to the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 championship team, was dealt to the Indiana Pacers in a blockbuster trade Wednesday.
The Raptors received guard Bruce Brown, forward Jordan Nwora and three first-round picks from the Pacers in return.
Toronto also received guard Kira Lewis from New Orleans, with a second-round pick going from the Pacers to the Pelicans of the deal.
In a corresponding move, the Raptors waived centre Christian Koloko.
The deal was confirmed by Toronto less than an hour after the Raptors stunned the visit Miami Heat 121-97 at Scotiabank Arena.
Siakam is in the final year of a four-year, US$136.9 million deal. He will make $37.8 million this season.
The trade ends one of Toronto’s biggest developmental success stories.
Through a stellar work ethic, Siakam went from a little-known prospect and late first round pick to a Raptors great with a resume that includes two all-star nods, two All-NBA selections and a vital role in the team’s lone championship.
Though the Raptors have struggled to a 16-25 record, Siakam has put together another strong individual season, averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists.
It’s yet another major move for Toronto’s front office.
The Raptors sent longtime wing OG Anunoby, forward Precious Achiuwa and guard Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks for Canadian forward RJ Barrett, guard Immanuel Quickley and a second-round pick on Dec. 30.
Brown is averaging 12.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and three assists this season, while Nwora is averaging 5.2 points per game. Lewis is averaging 2.9 points and 1.2 assists. Brown and Nwora both have championship rings.
But the potential key to the deal for the Raptors was the ability to restock their draft picks. At the start of the season Toronto had no draft picks in this summer’s NBA draft. It got Detroit’s second-round pick in the deal with the Knicks and as well as Indiana’s trio of selections.
With Anunoby and Siakam now playing elsewhere, Chris Boucher is the last tie to the Raptors’ championship team. The Montreal forward had a limited role on the team in 2018-19.
Siakam was the subject of trade rumours dating back to last season, with reports this summer that the Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic and Indiana had interest in acquiring him.
His departure comes after longtime point guard Fred VanVleet left the Raptors via free agency and former head coach Nick Nurse was fired in April.
Team president Masai Ujiri told media in April that he wanted to change the Raptors’ culture following a 41-41 season when Toronto missed the post-season for the second time in three years.
Siakam averaged a career-high and team-best 24.2 points last season for the Raptors, along with 7.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists over 71 games. He tied Brooklyn and Dallas guard Kyrie Irving for most minutes per game in the NBA at 37.4.
The deal comes two days after Siakam played his 510th game with Toronto, surpassing Chris Bosh for fifth most games in team history.
Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic, who replaced Nurse in the off-season, has put the ball in forward Scottie Barnes’s hands more this season. The 22-year-old Barnes has flourished, posting career-highs in points (20.2), rebounds (9.1) and assists (5.6).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2024.