NBA insider on Pascal Siakam trade: “Atlanta (Hawks) is the team mentioned most often”

NBA: MAR 21 Raptors at Bulls

There are a lot of parallels between the Dejounte Murray trade from last offseason and the speculation surrounding Pascal Siakam this summer.

Though there were other clubs reportedly interested in a deal with the Spurs, it was the Hawks that were most often tied to Murray. And the same can be said for Siakam and the Raptors.

Marc Stein of The Stein Line (subscription required) reported on the Pacers’ potential interest, but it seems the Hawks are the most mentioned team, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

“Atlanta is the team mentioned most often,”  Lowe said on The Lowe Post podcast. “Indiana has been mentioned with them, if Miami can’t get Dame, would they end up going after Siakam with a similar package? I don’t know what’s going to happen here but this seems to be a ‘so-much-smoke-there’s-gotta-be-fire’ situation here.”

Now, that’s just Lowe speculating. There have been no substantial reports suggesting the Heat would pivot to Siakam if they can’t acquire Damian Lillard, but the Pacers’ rumors seem to be real. However, it seems the Hawks are still the frontrunners, and it’s not really a two-team race.

“If he doesn’t want to be in Indiana, he’s an expiring contract. That’s also part of it,” Lowe said. “I don’t know that he does or doesn’t. I just keep hearing ‘Atlanta, Atlanta, Atlanta’ which makes me think he’s not amenable to being in Indiana.”

The 29-year-old Siakam averaged a career-high 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Other than Dame, he’s the only All-Star potentially on the move this offseason.

Under Quin Snyder, it seems the Hawks are pushing all of the right buttons. Sure, trading John Collins as a salary dump wasn’t ideal, considering what he was garnering in trade talks a couple of seasons ago, but it should be noted the Hawks didn’t have to attach any draft capital in the deal with the Jazz.

Moreover, Snyder’s impact in Dejounte Murray signing a team-friendly extension cannot be understated. It seems the Hawks are headed in the right direction under its new head coach.

There will likely have to be a third team involved in a trade with the Raptors and Hawks, but Atlanta shouldn’t have to overpay because Indiana’s interest isn’t what it seems, according to Lowe.

“I don’t think the Pacers’ interest level is quite what it’s reported to be,” Lowe stated

The entire conversation centers around compensation and what’s fair. Siakam is on an expiring deal and has made it known he wants to test free agency, which gives me pause in all of this. One piece is clear — De’Andre Hunter.

“Hunter has got to be included in any iteration of this deal. Just his $20 million salary is necessary.” Lowe continued.  “I think he’s a piece that Atlanta, facing a money crunch going forward, would not be totally averse to getting off that contract.”

The former 4th overall pick hasn’t realized his full potential but is coming off a more encouraging season where he remained somewhat healthy and showed better consistency. He averaged 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this past season while shooting 35% from three-point range. His four-year, $90 million contract extension kicks in this year, so if Snyder doesn’t see his fit on the team, it makes sense to move him.

“He’s a good player. He just hasn’t been healthy enough, and his shooting has gone wildly up and down. Defensively, he hasn’t quite been what he was cracked up to be. But he’s young; I think he’ll be a good defensive player,” Lowe said.

I don’t know what the Hawks are going to do, but it seems the new regime has its sights set on a Pascal Siakam trade.

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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