Pascal Siakam trade grades: Pacers get a pairing for Tyrese Haliburton, Raptors look towards the future

After being taken with the 27th pick in the 2016 draft and turning into one of Toronto’s great draft success stories, Pascal Siakam’s time as a Raptor is done.

As part of a three-team deal involving the Raptors, Pacers and Pelicans, Siakam will move on to Indiana to create an intriguing one-two punch with Tyrese Haliburton, while Toronto adds some depth pieces and draft picks. 

How did each of these teams make out? Here are trade grades for the Raptors and Pacers. 

MORE: Full details of Pascal Siakam to Pacers trade

Pascal Siakam trade details

Pacers receive:

  • Pascal Siakam
  • Second round pick via the Pelicans

Raptors receive:

  • Bruce Brown
  • Jordan Nwora
  • Kira Lewis
  • 2024 first round pick
  • 2024 first round pick
  • 2026 first round pick

Pelicans receive:

Pacers grade: B+

The determining factor in this grade is if the Pacers can get Siakam to re-sign this summer. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent. Trading assets to see him sign somewhere else after a few months would be a disaster. 

The Pacers do have advantages in retaining Siakam by trading for him. They will acquire his Bird Rights, allowing them to give him more money than anyone else. They may have to overpay him, but they haven’t been able to get top-tier free agents to come in the past even with that leverage. This is a franchise whose best free agent signing was David West, back in 2011. 

Let’s assume that Siakam does re-sign. Getting him in the door to pair with Haliburton could make him an even better player than he’s been in his previous All-NBA seasons, back in 2020 and 2022.

MORE: Why Pascal Siakam and the Pacers are a perfect match

Spicy P has been working with cramped spacing and defenses loading up on him for the past few seasons in Toronto. He’s going from a team that is 26th in 3-pointers made to one that is no. 6 in the league. Defenses are going to have a much harder time throwing extra bodies at him. 

Siakam also fits the transition and early offense attack very well. He’s a dangerous player when defenses aren’t set, getting good post position or finding mismatches to work out of. As a play finisher in transition, he ranks in the 77th percentile, per NBA Stats. 

Giving away picks hurts. But this upcoming draft is expected to be a weak one, and hopefully the Pacers will be good enough down the line that those picks will land in the back of the first round. They also had a pick surplus, including a slew of extra second round picks. This does not preclude them from making even more upgrades down the line. 

Raptors grade: A

Losing a home-grown star in Siakam hurts, particularly when you know that you’re not getting a better player back immediately. But this is a step back that the Raptors had to take. The current iteration of their team was not working. Scottie Barnes has shown star potential and at 22 years old, his timeline did not line up with the 29-year-old veteran. 

This is a great return for Siakam given his free agency status and potential to bolt to another team in a few months. A few weeks earlier, the Raptors got the Pistons’ second-round pick back along with Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett in exchange for future free agent O.G. Anunoby, showing how tough it is to acquire good draft assets for players in that situation. 

MORE: Grading Toronto’s deal to move O.G. Anunoby to New York for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley

Brown is a really nice fit around Scottie Barnes, which should be the No. 1 criteria for any player the team adds going forward. He’s a do-it-all role player that can make stars around him look better. 

He is a rugged defender that can guard up in position, allowing him to switch 1-4. While his 3-pointer is down to 32.7 percent this year, that had been a 37 percent shot for him in previous years. He can playmake a little bit, and he showed in a very productive NBA Finals that he isn’t afraid of the big moments. 

Nwora hadn’t been a big part of the Pacers rotation. He’s a 25-year-old wing who has shot the ball well for his career and played with good energy. He is set to be a free agent this summer. 

Kira Lewis is the former No. 13 pick in the 2020 draft. He has not been able to crack the rotation in his four years with the Pelicans due to a combination of bad injury luck and the team’s ridiculous depth. But the point guard prospect had great speed coming out of the draft

This trade also completely flips the Raptors’ financial picture. Had they elected to keep Siakam and re-sign him to a maximum deal, they would have faced salary cap issues down the line when Barnes was up for his new deal. Instead, they find themselves with the flexibility to add free agents this summer. Brown has a $23 million team option for next season that gives the Raptors different pathways to pursue. 

This is a win-win trade for two main teams involved, who are in very different situations. The Raptors’ future got brighter, while the Pacers got a player in a better fit who can help them immediately. 

Pelicans grade: C

Lewis hadn’t been playing much for the Pelicans. They attached a second-round pick to get off his salary as a cost-cutting move to get below the luxury tax. The trade will save them $18 million, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.


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