Pascal Siakam was the subject of some trade rumors earlier in the NBA offseason, but the Raptors reportedly assured the forward and his camp that they weren’t looking to move him, and Siakam’s agent Todd Ramasar publicly stated that his client wasn’t looking to be moved.
Speaking to Sopan Deb of The New York Times, Siakam publicly weighed in on those trade rumors himself for the first time, suggesting that he envisions himself remaining in Toronto long-term. Siakam told Deb that he wasn’t irritated by the offseason rumors, since all the reports framed any trade discussions as teams pursuing him, rather than the Raptors shopping him.
“It didn’t bother me really, because I never really heard anything from the Raptors. Even all the news I was seeing it was never like: ‘Oh. The Raptors wanted to give up Siakam for this,'” he said. “It was always like, ‘The Warriors like Pascal,’ or it was always, ‘The Kings like Pascal,’ or this. There was never nothing where it was like, ‘The Raptors wanted to give away Pascal.'”
Siakam’s conversation with Deb touched on several other topics, including his rehab from shoulder surgery, his run-in with head coach Nick Nurse, and Kyle Lowry‘s departure from Miami. The Q&A is worth checking out in full, but here are some highlights:
On where he’s at in the rehab process:
“I’m shooting, ball handling. I think at this point in the process I look better than I thought I was expecting at least or I’m doing more than I thought I would do at that time.”
On his altercation with Nurse:
“I don’t think it was that bad… This is what happened: It was after a game. I’m just so frustrated. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’re losing and I’m just mad I didn’t play and I could’ve really helped my team.’ And we’re having a losing season and I think those things happen between a coach and a player.
“Obviously, I probably used language, uh, people use. It is what it is, but I don’t think it was such a big deal because after that situation happened, we talked. We are on good terms. It was just an argument. Literally one argument and like: ‘Oh, I’m mad at this. I’m yelling and this is it.’ That’s it. Grown men.”
On becoming one of the Raptors’ centerpieces following Kawhi Leonard‘s departure in 2019:
“For me at that point when I started becoming that person, I just felt like there wasn’t that much level of communication (from the team), to be honest. And that was the only thing really that I felt. It was like, ‘We got you the max contract, but are you the guy?’ I think that’s something that I was struggling with.
“Kyle was, to me, always the greatest Raptor of all time. I think he was always like, ‘I was the guy.’ I had the contract, but I never really felt like I was the guy, to be honest. … And I think those conversations are happening now.”
On his expectations for himself in 2021/22:
“I feel like when the season was ending, I was catching a rhythm, finally feeling good. ‘Man, I just had Covid. Lost 20 pounds.’ These are things that I was going through, and I feel like I’ve always gotten better in my eyes. And I think there’s another level that I can definitely get to. And for me, I definitely see myself as an All-Star. Potentially, wanting to be a most valuable player in the league one day. But for me, I do think that there’s definitely a lot more to unleash into my dream that’s going to take me to the next level.”