Now that the Bulls' FO has gotten our imaginations going, it is time to channel our inner Tom Hardy and dream a little bigger. With Toronto losing Kyle Lowry, potentially losing Masai Ujiri, and starting a youth movement, it might be time to look at their other star player.
Pascal Siakam was an organizational success story for the Raptors who managed to capture the Most Improved player and win a title just a few years ago. He bookended the NBA Finals with monster performances and parlayed his success into a massive 4-year $130 million dollar contract. Then, he turned around and made the All-NBA second team. At this point, you are probably asking "Why in the world would Toronto trade a guy like that who is only 27?"
The reason is that the bubble burst in more ways than one for Siakam. After struggling in the playoffs down in Orlando, Siakam understandably vented about his frustrations but told reports before this past season that he had rediscovered his love of the game. In spite of that, he struggled to start the season and had to be benched due to a disciplinary matter. Combine that with an injury that will keep him out through the start of the season and the fact that Toronto may have just drafted his replacement and there is a recipe for a trade.
The next question is what Siakam could bring to the Bulls. In this humble blog boy's opinion, he brings the perfect complement of skills to fit between Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine. He can play like an elite defender and was key to the number one ranked defensive team in the 2020 playoffs and number two defensive team during the regular season. He has the length, speed, and strength to defend up and down the positional spectrum and lock up one-on-one. His 7'3'' wingspan helps him contest and deter shots. Given the defensive limitations of LaVine and Vucevic, his defensive versatility could plug some of the holes their limitations present.
On offense, Siakam has showed he is not ready to be a number one option. The 2020 NBA bubble showcased that Siakam needs help. As a third option on the Bulls who could mash backup units when LaVine and/or Vooch sit, though, Siakam can spin his way to buckets. While his shooting can be rough (playoff teams have been known to sag way off of him and he shot under 30% last year), there have been encouraging signs. He has improved his free throws and shot a respectable 36% on six attempts a game during the 2019-2020 season. Likewise, he remains a good ball-mover and underrated passer who has had a positive A/TO ratio each year since his first in the league. On a team that may not need a primary option but rather someone who can occasionally be that guy when called upon, Siakam feels like a great fit. Could he and Vooch have some issues being in the post? Sure, but no one fits perfectly and both players are smart veterans who have shown the ability to sacrifice and adapt so I'd bet on them figuring it out.
At this point, it's just about how to get this deal done. The Bulls have pieces that might interest the Raptors in Patrick Williams who fits the Raptors mold and could play with their other long wings, Coby White who could play alongside or back up VanVleet and newly signed Gary Trent Jr., and finally, Lauri Markkanen who feels like a snug fit with a more athletic team that can move the ball and cover up his rebounding deficiencies. Like a few of the moves already completed this offseason, Lauri would have to be included via sign-and-trade. The Raptors would also demand draft capital, likely 1-2 first rounders and/or pick swaps as a starting point.
Would this make the Bulls a contender? Is the price too high? Is Siakam the right fit? Let me know what you think in the comments!