The message from the Toronto Raptors on Pascal Siakam has remained the same all summer: he’s not being traded.
For a moment, it seemed like Masai Ujiri might come out and say it directly.
“We’re not trying to…” he said as if to say the organization isn’t trying to trade the former all-star.
Instead, Ujiri pivoted mid-sentence.
“People come up with, maybe because he wasn’t playing well, people come up with all this stuff,” Ujiri said. “Pascal is here. Pascal is a Raptor and he’s gonna play with us.”
While Siakam’s name has popped up in trade rumors all summer, the Raptors haven’t waivered in their disinterest in moving their franchise cornerstone. General manager Bobby Webster has repeatedly dispelled rumors, suggesting they’re just nonsense from other people around the league to drum up chaos. More recently, reporting from The Athletic’s Sam Amick suggests Toronto has made it clear to those close to Siakam that the Raptors have not been shopping him this summer.
Toronto wants to continue building around Siakam this year, surrounding him and Fred VanVleet and a young nucleus of talent that includes OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Scottie Barnes. The goal, as Ujiri said, is to build another championship through development. This isn’t an organization that’s going to make rash decisions or splashy moves in free agency. Instead, it’s going to build and strike when the perfect opportunity presents itself. Moving Siakam now, after a down season, while he recovers from a shoulder injury, is anything but a Raptors-esque decision.