With Draymond Green likely to opt out of his player option for the upcoming season, chances are that he and the Warriors will agree on a new deal to keep Green in Golden State long-term.
But as the adage goes, ‘Never say never’. While probable, Green’s return is no sure thing, and with Bob Myers no longer around to smooth over the contract negotiations, his future with the team remains a question mark.
In the event of Draymond Green’s departure in free agency, the Golden State Warriors should target Toronto Raptors’ All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam as his replacement.
The Toronto Raptors will surely be one of the NBA’s biggest ‘sellers’ this summer. Fred VanVleet declined his $22.8 million player option earlier this month, kicking off a transitional period for Toronto that has been long overdue.
As the Raptors shift their focus towards building around Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby will be aggressively shopped in an attempt to stack up young talent and future draft equity — both of which the Warriors can offer.
Jonathan Kuminga has been rumored to have garnered plenty of interest around the league, and back in February, CJ Holmes of The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Raptors asked for Kuminga in a potential swap for OG Anunoby at the trade deadline.
The asking price for Siakam would be higher than that of Anunoby’s, and any deal involving Siakam would almost certainly include Jordan Poole. Golden State has the assets to pull off either deal, and Siakam would fit right in as a versatile power-forward should Green vacate the position.
Offensively, Siakam has evolved into an undeniable three-level threat — an elite scorer and playmaker who uses his combination of length and size to punish defenders in the post and draw defensive attention to create for his teammates.
Named to his second career All-Star game, Siakam posted another impressive all-around season, averaging 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game, while shooting 48.0% from the field and 32.4% from three-point range. Siakam’s creation abilities appeared to level up once again this season, evidenced by his career-high in assists per game.
Siakam’s offensive repertoire has expanded tremendously over the years, and as he’s developed into more of a threat in isolation, teams have been forced to pay him extra attention defensively. Where he was once uncomfortable when met with multiple bodies, Siakam has become welcoming of double teams, using them as leverage to locate cutters and open shooters along the perimeter.
He’ll never make an All-Defensive team, but Siakam is a reliable defender who possesses the frame and mobility to guard just about every position. He maintains a high activity level on and off the ball, and his effort level never wavers — an extremely underrated trait in today’s league.
As a Warrior, Siakam will likely be the team’s second offensive option behind Stephen Curry, and while he certainly does most of his work with the ball in his hands, he has enough experience playing off the ball next to the likes of VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard. He is a high IQ player who doesn’t always need the rock to be effective, and his ability to create in the half-court could enhance Golden State’s offense in a number of ways.
At his best, Siakam is one of the NBA’s best 10-15 players, and the Warriors would be smart to go after him in the unlikely scenario that their former Defensive Player of the Year finds a new home this summer.