Pascal Siakam was traded to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, ending a run of nearly eight years with the Toronto Raptors during which he was a two-time All-NBA selection, two-time All-Star and part of the team that won the 2019 NBA title.
His next chapter: teaming up with All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton on a Pacers team that started the day as the highest-scoring club in the NBA and now has even more offensive firepower for the second half of the season.
It took Indiana a sizable amount of draft capital — three first-round picks — to get the deal done, but the Pacers also managed to hang on to their four leading scorers this season and add another star to the mix.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Pascal to Indiana,” Pacers President Kevin Pritchard said. “As a two-time All-NBA selection and two-time NBA All Star, Pascal is a player that our organization has long admired and respected. We feel that his unique offensive skillset will complement our style of play, while his defensive versatility will be a valuable asset to our team.”
Siakam leaves Toronto fifth on the team's career list in games and points, plus third in rebounds and 10th in steals.
“Pascal is a champion, an integral part of winning teams and an example of what can be achieved with dedication, perseverance, hard work and tenacity,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “We’re lucky to have seen Pascal develop into the man and player that he is today -- and we are grateful for everything he has done for our city and for our franchise.”
Indiana sent a pair of players with NBA championship rings, guard Bruce Brown and forward Jordan Nwora, to Toronto. Guard Kira Lewis, who was acquired earlier Wednesday by Indiana from New Orleans in a deal that helped make the Siakam trade possible, also went to the Raptors.
“Pascal is just a pure basketball junkie,” Toronto coach Darko Rajaković said Wednesday night before his team topped the Miami Heat. “He is the first one to show up in the gym, the last one to leave. He was always coachable, always professional since Day 1. ... I can only be thankful and grateful for all of his contributions to our team this season.”
New Orleans also gave up a second-round pick and got a sizable prize back for its involvement: The Pelicans are now below the luxury tax threshold.
“We wish him the best,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said about Lewis. “Unfortunately, it didn't work out the way we wanted it to here.”
The deal is a huge move for Indiana, the NBA’s highest-scoring team this season. The Pacers entered Wednesday at No. 6 in the Eastern Conference and soon will get to pair Siakam alongside Haliburton, who has been out with a hamstring issue but could return as early as Thursday. He’s listed as questionable for Indiana’s game at Sacramento.
Siakam, 29, is in the final year of his contract, which pays him nearly $38 million this season, and becomes eligible this summer to sign a five-year deal that could be worth as much as $247 million. The Pacers are expected to at least consider giving Siakam such a deal.
Siakam was averaging 22.2 points this season, and he has averaged 17.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in his career. He was an All-Star in 2020 and 2023 and was the last starter from Toronto’s title team still with the franchise.
It is the second significant trade made by the Raptors in less than three weeks, after moving OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to New York for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in late December.
Brown will be joining his fifth different team once he arrives in Toronto, after stints with Detroit, Brooklyn, Denver and the Pacers. He was averaging a career-best 12.1 points this season, his sixth in the NBA.
Nwora averaged 5.2 points with the Pacers this season. Lewis appeared in 118 games — all in a reserve role — over parts of four seasons with the Pelicans and was averaging 2.9 points this season.
To facilitate it all and clear the spot needed to bring in Lewis in the first trade, the Pacers waived veteran forward James Johnson in what was solely a procedural move. He had appeared in five games with Indiana since getting signed in mid-December and is expected to re-join the Pacers once he clears waivers because a roster spot would then be open.
The Raptors also cleared a spot by waiving center Christian Koloko.
Associated Press Writer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed to this report.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA