The Raptors' front office continues to be aggressive this season, this time reportedly trading away a two-time All-NBA player and former cornerstone piece of their franchise in Pascal Siakam. Wednesday's trade between the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers sent Siakam to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora and three first-round picks.
Here's the fantasy basketball impact of this trade:
Siakam joins the fastest-paced team in the NBA and pairs up with one of the best guards in the league, Tyrese Haliburton. Siakam is having his worst statistical season in three years, but given his looming contract situation, I can't blame him. He's wanted a max deal for some time, and he'll be working with the Pacers in the background on a long-term contract.
Siakam's versatility should raise the floor of the Pacers, as they're getting a 20-point scorer who can guard multiple positions and create for others. He's been a top-80 player for much of the season, and he could improve on that number with the added motivation of playing for a better, fantasy-friendly team with some financial security coming his way.
He was already given the keys to the franchise, and with Siakam gone, Barnes is well-positioned to take on even more usage and command of the Raptors' offense. Siakam had the highest usage on the team, so it's looking up for Barnes, who was second on the team at 24%. Barnes is a top-20 player in fantasy, and he could be even better following this trade, with 22% of Barnes' minutes having come from the PF spot. We may see more of that in the future. No matter how you slice it, Scottie's about to be beaming.
RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley
They both get a bump because, similar to Barnes, they'll get more touches without Siakam present. Barrett (60) and Quickley (53) have been top-60 players in per-game value since being traded to Toronto on Dec. 31. That's not changing after yet another move.
Brown's been flirting with top-130 value all season. That's true for points leagues (136th) and 9-category leagues (134th). His numbers are consistent with last year when he enjoyed a mini-breakout coming off the bench for the reigning-champion, Denver Nuggets.
Brown's lofty contract and scrappy, do-it-all skillset will earn him at least 25-plus minutes a night. Don't believe me? Only 11 players are making over $22M across the league who aren't playing at least 30 minutes per night (and they're close at 27.6 minutes per contest). His $22M per year is second on the team behind Barrett, so he should start at SG alongside Quickley, Barrett, Barnes and Jakob Poeltl (when healthy).
I'd keep him as bench depth in 12-plus leagues because his efficiency and steals are worth holding onto, but feel free to cut bait in shallow leagues. The Raptors will likely use him in various ways within their unselfish style of play. Plus, he comes in as arguably their second-best defender, so no better, no worse than his previous stop in Indiana.
All Pacers power forwards
Obi Toppin, Aaron Nesmith and Jalen Smith all get downgraded as a result of this trade because Siakam is an immediate upgrade at the position and in the starting unit.
Pacers HC Rick Carlisle has kept the power forward spot fluid throughout the season, opting to ride the hot hand or make adjustments based on the matchup, but that all changes with Siakam in town.
Toppin, Nesmith and Smith can be sent to the wire as they'll be left to duke it out for backup minutes behind Siakam.