Title: Exploring the case for and specifics of a potential Pascal Siakam extension
Date: June 27, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at the arguments in favor of an extension for Pascal Siakam this summer, as well as why the Raptors may be hesitant to offer it.
From Most Improved Player to most improved paycheck.
That will be the jump Pascal Siakam’s camp pitches to the Toronto Raptors this summer. Siakam, who was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Monday night after taking enormous strides in this third professional season, is eligible for an extension between July 6 and the start of the 2019-20 season.
Siakam’s long-term future in Toronto isn’t much of a question. The 25-year-old took a jump to roughly top-25 player status and figures to be a prominent part of the near- and long-term plans whether Kawhi Leonard stays or goes. Considering he’ll make just $2.35 million this coming season – one in which he might wind up an All-Star and, if Leonard leaves, get a chance to show if he can be a No. 1 option – both sides would surely agree he’s due a raise, too. In the bigger picture, there seems to be little chance Siakam and the Raptors aren’t in it together for the long haul.
The specifics of an extension are far less obvious, though. Navigating extension talks can be a tricky subject, because the Raptors will have very real reasons to delay putting pen to paper, reasons that don’t actually have much to do with Siakam. Siakam, meanwhile, will be balancing locking in security now versus betting on himself to ascend even higher in a year’s time. Negotiations where a player isn’t a surefire max-contract player can be at least a little uncomfortable, with two sides trying to quantify a player’s value within a salary cap environment.
In other words, that the Raptors would like to keep Siakam past the expiration of his contract in 2020 is obvious. How they get there is less clear. What follows is an examination of the options available and why they may or may not work for either side.