Pacers Finalizing Trade For Pascal Siakam

The Pacers and Raptors are finalizing an agreement on a trade that will send star forward Pascal Siakam to Indiana, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

The deal, whose framework was previously reported by Shams Charania and Jake Fischer, will send Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, and three first-round picks to Toronto, according to Wojnarowski. The Pelicans will also be involved, Wojnarowski notes, with fourth-year guard Kira Lewis headed to the Raptors.

Earlier reporting indicated that Indiana would likely include either Jalen Smith or Obi Toppin in their package for salary-matching purposes. However, by acquiring Lewis from New Orleans using their cap room, the Pacers will be able to immediately aggregate his salary with Brown’s and Nwora’s, making him the missing matching piece. As a result, the “three-team” deal will technically consist of two separate trades, ESPN’s Bobby Marks confirms (via Twitter).

The three first-rounders going to Toronto will be the Pacers’ own 2024 pick, a second ’24 first-rounder (via Oklahoma City), and Indiana’s 2026 pick, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The 2024 pick from OKC will be the least favorable of the Thunder’s, Clippers’, Rockets’, and Jazz’s first-rounders. The 2026 pick will include top-four protection, according to Charania (Twitter link).

In the Pelicans/Pacers swap, New Orleans will receive cash from Indiana and will send a second-round pick to the Pacers, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and Wojnarowski (Twitter link). That will be a 2024 selection, tweets Christian Clark of, which means it’ll be the least favorable of the Pelicans’ and Bulls’ second-rounders.

The blockbuster deal is the culmination of several months of trade rumors involving Siakam. He was also at the center of speculation over the 2023 offseason, at which time the Raptors reportedly spoke to the Hawks and others about the two-time All-Star. The Mavericks, Warriors, Pistons, and Kings are among the teams that have been linked to him in recent weeks.

After getting a limited return for Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade deal in 2021 and then losing Fred VanVleet for nothing in 2023 free agency, the Raptors were more proactive this season in moving key players on expiring contracts ahead of February’s trade deadline. Toronto sent OG Anunoby and two other players to New York at the end of December in exchange for Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, and a second-round pick.

The Pacers reportedly made an effort to acquire Anunoby before the Knicks landed him, but Siakam had been at the top of their wish list for over six months, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. While the Raptors were believed to be seeking a return headlined by a young player or two – like the one they got from the Knicks for Anunoby – Indiana was able to get the deal done with a pick-heavy package that didn’t include recent lottery selections Bennedict Mathurin or Jarace Walker.

By virtue of being traded, Siakam will no longer be eligible for a super-max contract in the event he makes an All-NBA team for a third time this season. Additionally, he won’t be able to sign an extension of more than two years with Indiana prior to free agency, since a longer-term extension deal isn’t permitted for six months after the trade.

However, the 29-year-old is excited to join the Pacers and is expected to be “eager” to figure out a new contract with the team this summer, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Pacers will hold his Bird rights, giving them the ability to offer up to five years once he becomes a free agent. They’ll have plenty of financial flexibility to make Siakam a part of the long-term core alongside star point guard Tyrese Haliburton.

“I’m excited that Pascal is getting a first class opportunity with the Pacers, being paired with Tyrese and Myles (Turner) and being coached by a great coach in Rick Carlisle,” Siakam’s agent Todd Ramasar said in a statement to Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link). “His future there looks bright there.”

The Raptors will now control at least two first-round picks in the 2024 draft, along with an early second-rounder from the Pistons that currently projects to be 31st overall. They traded their own ’24 first-rounder away to the Spurs in last season’s Jakob Poeltl deal, but it has top-six protection, so it’s not a lock to change hands — Toronto’s 15-25 record is tied for the sixth-worst mark in the NBA.

It’s unclear what Toronto’s plans are for Brown, who played an important role on the Nuggets’ championship team last season and could be a popular target for contenders on the trade market in the coming weeks.

Brown is on a pseudo-expiring $22MM contract — he has a $23MM club option for 2024/25, so if he remains a Raptor, the club could create in excess of $30MM in cap room by declining that option, notes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Nwora ($3MM) and Lewis ($5.7MM) are also on expiring deals.

While the Pacers’ 2023/24 team salary will increase beyond the cap once they officially acquire Siakam, the Raptors and Pelicans will gain significant cap relief. After being only slightly under the luxury tax line prior to the trade, Toronto will have about $9MM in breathing room below that threshold, tweets cap expert Yossi Gozlan.

New Orleans, meanwhile, will move from above the tax line to about $2.8MM below it, Gozlan adds (via Twitter). That will give the Pelicans – one of two NBA teams to never pay the tax – more room to operate on the trade market or in free agency in the coming weeks.

The Pacers will have to waive a player in order to acquire Lewis from New Orleans. Veteran forward James Johnson will be that roster casualty, per Tony East of (Twitter link). The Raptors, who currently have one open spot on their 15-man roster, will also need to make a cut in order to accommodate their three-for-one deal with Indiana.

Both the Pacers and Pelicans will end up with 13 players on standard contracts once the two trades are completed. Teams aren’t permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard deals for more than 14 days at a time, so both clubs will have two weeks to re-add a 14th man.

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