In an offseason that promises to be transformational for the Toronto Raptors, both the roster and coaching staff have been subject to rumors and turnover. Not only has Pascal Siakam been linked to the Golden State Warriors via trade, but the squad in San Francisco already managed to snatch up Raptors assistant Jama Mahlalela.
Mahlalela has been a loyal soldier for Nick Nurse and Dwane Casey, serving as both an assistant with the big league club and head coach of some exceptional Raptors 905 teams. The Warriors lured him away from Toronto, as he and former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will become Steve Kerr’s top assistants.
Siakam was mentioned as a potential trade acquisition for Golden State, as he could, in theory, be a perfect third scoring option next to Steph Curry and a returning Klay Thompson. With the Mahlalela connection, does this signal that the Warriors are going all-in on a Siakam trade?
Actually, the hired of Mahlalela could have the opposite effect. With Mahlalela’s background in working with young players, this could show that the Warriors are transitioning out of their star-chasing organizational philosophy.
Will the Warriors have a need to trade for Raptors star Pascal Siakam?
Golden State has No. 2 pick James Wiseman on the team, and he should eventually become the center of the future. With two lottery picks in the draft at No. 7 and No. 14 overall, the youth movement is fully underway in the Bay Area. The Warriors know they aren’t one or two moves away from being title favorites, so developing these three could be in their best interests.
Part of the reason that Atkinson was giving the head coaching gig with a Nets team that was, at the time, a laughingstock was the fact he showed skill with regards to working with young players, especially with refining their offensive IQ.
Mahlalela helped keep the 905 humming during his time in the minor leagues, and he was an invaluable asset on the bench at the professional level.
Because of Siakam’s monstrous contract, the Warriors would have to either send a player like Andrew Wiggins to Toronto in addition to Wiseman or the No. 7 pick or get a third team involved.
Does all of that sturm und drang really sound better than just sticking with a potential All-Star in Wiseman and letting a parade of talented assistants improve his game? The Warriors could sow the seeds for the next dynasty if they don’t pull off this Siakam deal.
Mahlalela will be sorely missed in Toronto, as his keen coaching eye could help dig the Raptors out of danger. However, he is likely being brought to Golden State due to his ability to coach up young players. If the Warriors want to copy the Raptors and commit to youngsters, giving them up to grab Siakam seems unlikely.