What should Hawks hold on to in a Pascal Siakam trade?

NBA: MAR 21 Raptors at Bulls

It’s no secret the Hawks are pursuing Pascal Siakam. Multiple pundits have reported Atlanta is the most mentioned team in trade talks with Toronto, noting a three-team trade could be the pathway to a deal coming to fruition. However, reports have also suggested Siakam will not sign an extension and wants to test the free agent market.

It’s hard to see the Hawks giving up any assets for a one-year rental, but let’s play a game of ‘what if.’ Knowing what we know presently, what if the club does acquire Pascal Siakam? What should the Hawks be unwilling to part ways with? Assuming he is indeed not interested in signing an extension before testing free agency.

Draft Capital

Let’s just get this one out of the way — yes. The Hawks should absolutely part ways with draft capital in a potential Siakam trade. In the NBA, it’s a total crapshoot outside of the lottery, and the club already features a bevy of young talent. In fact, there’s somewhat of a logjam down the bench. If anything, Atlanta needs to consolidate to open up minutes for the youngsters, who are next on the list.

Onyeka Okongwu

If there were an untouchable other than Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, it would be OO. The former 6th overall pick hasn’t blossomed as many hoped, but that can be attributed to a lack of opportunities. He’s coming off a career year in which he averaged nearly 10 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks while playing a career-high 23.1 minutes per contest. His greatest asset is his versatility on the defensive end.

He’s able to switch 1-5 and has put some of the best offensive players in the league in a blender — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl Anthony Towns, and Joel Embiid. I believe his ceiling is that of Bam Adebayo — an All-Defense, All-Star. Those are lofty expectations, but the kid developed some semblance of a jump shot in one offseason… imagine what he could do as a full-time starter.

Of the young core, OO is the last I would move in a Pascal Siakam trade.

AJ Griffin

Like Okgonwu, Griffin’s opportunities were slim because of how deep the Hawks roster was last year. Nate McMillan rarely turned to rookies, and by the time Quin Snyder took over, it was playoff time, where rotations are trimmed to seven or eight. Griffin’s skill set is still extremely attractive in today’s NBA.

He can score in multiple ways, including off the dribble and as a spot-up shooter. He averaged nearly nine points a contest while canning 39% of his three-point attempts. Shooters like him don’t grow on trees, especially ones younger than 20 years old. Griffin isn’t off the table, but Quin Snyder’s emphasis on three-point shooting tells me his spot in Atlanta is probably safe.

Jalen Johnson

JJ is right there with AJ Griffin. I wouldn’t be thrilled to move him in any deal for Pascal Siakam. Now, I understand there’s no guarantee that either player will reach their full potential, whereas Siakam is already a proven star. However, the one-year rental gives me pause, and Johnson’s game is so important for the Hawks’ style of play.

Like Onyeka Okongwu, JJ is an extremely versatile defender. He’s essentially a point forward that can alleviate pressure off Dejounte Murray and Trae Young while being able to grab his own rebounds and push the pace. He still doesn’t have a reliable three-point shot, but if he can develop that part of his game, he will become an instant impact player for the Hawks. He can rebound, facilitate, and get to the basket, all while holding his own on the other end of the court.

De’Andre Hunter

Hunter is entering the first of a four-year, $90 million deal, which is a bargain for a solid two-way player in today’s NBA. He’s the prototypical wing that can shoot threes, get his own shot, and defend the perimeter. The only problem? He’s been widely inconsistent since entering the league as a 4th overall pick.

He’s coming off a season in which he averaged 15.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while appearing in the most games of his career. He certainly hasn’t realized his full potential, dealing with inconsistencies and injuries, but when he’s right, he can be a significant contributor to a contender.

I wouldn’t mind parting ways with Hunter in a Pascal Siakam trade, but his best could be yet to come. If he can stay healthy and improve his dribbling and consistency, the Hawks could look like idiots if they moved him for a one-year rental like Siakam.

Clint Capela

Clint Capela is the unsung hero of the Hawks. He does all of the dirty work without much credit. He’s coming off a season in which he averaged 12.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. CC anchors Atlanta’s defense and is a former rebounding champion, but that’s where his on-court value ends.

Capela’s offense is extremely limited. He needs to be with a point guard that can facilitate for him near or at the basket. I have advocated moving the veteran center to open up minutes for Okongwu. Much of Capela’s value on the offensive end is directly tied to Trae Young‘s playmaking. If there’s one player that I would absolutely ship off for Siakam, it’s Clint Capela.

There’s only one problem with that though — the Raptors don’t need another center, especially one that costs north of $20 million. This is where a third team could smooth things over. The Mavericks have been the most mentioned club, with interest in CC dating back to the draft.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Bogi is probably the next closest thing to untradeable as Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, even more so than the youngsters. He just signed a contract extension, can get his own shot off the bench, and is the best shooter on the team. Snyder covets that skill set. His spot is safer than Griffin’s and anyone else.

Saddiq Bey

Bey’s skill set also makes me think the Hawks aren’t looking to include him in any Pascal Siakam trade. There is a bit of a logjam at the forward position, with Bey, Hunter, and Johnson all looking for minutes, but Bey is the best shooter out of the bunch. That surely goes a long way with Snyder’s Hawks team. However, I wouldn’t be against moving him if it meant having a shot at Siakam.

Kobe Bufkin

Bufkin was the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft, averaging 14.0 points with 3.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds across five appearances in the Summer League. However, he was horribly inefficient, shooting 33.3% from the field and 13.8% from beyond the arc. Still, he didn’t lack confidence, defended well, and facilitated as he did in college. Bufkin could be included, and I wouldn’t lose much sleep.

Who would you most want to hold on to in a Pascal Siakam trade?

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire



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