The Toronto Raptors have had an interesting year. They won their first championship in franchise history in June and lost their Finals MVP to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The loss of a player like Kawhi Leonard is difficult for almost any team to recover from, and the Raptors must do so as they prepare for this season. While it may be difficult, the Raptors at least have a young player to build around. And that young player is none other than reigning Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam.
Siakam had a noteworthy 2018-19 season, as he averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. His averages in every category (field goal percentage and so on) improved as he showed why he deserved Most Improved Player. Now, there is a good chance he’ll be the Raptors focal point.
Siakam will be crucial in the Raptors’ future(post-Kawhi), and both sides know it. So much so, Siakam wants to turn his MIP 2018-19 season to a potential max deal. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Siakam is seeking a max extension.
Sources on Inside Pass in @TheAthletic: Spurs and DeMar DeRozan discussing contract extension as DeRozan focuses on season; Raptors rising star Pascal Siakam seeks max deal in extension talks. More here: https://t.co/KgXPQ83SUe
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 4, 2019
As the 2019-20 approaches, the Raptors have a chance to offer Siakam an extension. If they offer him a rookie-scale extension (and he accepts) before October 21, they can extend his deal and keep him longer. On the other hand, if they fail to reach the extension, Siakam becomes a restricted free agent in the summer. So, his free-agent status potentially relies on the Raptors’ decision.
If Siakam becomes a restricted free agent, he can receive a four-year, $130 million max deal from another team or a five-year, $170 million max with the Raptors. With a potentially underwhelming 2020 free agency class, there is a chance that he receives offers from other teams. It would be up to the Raptors to retain him.
As of now, Siakam hopes to re-sign with the Raptors. If both sides agree, the 25-year old forward could return to Toronto. If the Raptors want to build their team around him, this is their chance to do so. Now, it is up to them to get the deal done.
Feature Image courtesy of Reinhold Matay