The 2020 NBA free agent class was already looking rather thin, and another big name just got crossed off the list. Pascal Siakam will remain in Toronto as he signed a four-year, $130 million max contract extension with the Toronto Raptors, the team announced Monday.
Siakam and the Raptors had until Monday's deadline to come to an agreement on an extension, otherwise he would have hit restricted free agency next summer. The max extension begins with the 2020-21 season, and will keep the rising star in Toronto until 2024. Shams Charania of The Athletic added that the deal does not include any player or team options.
This is a big move for multiple reasons and impacts both the Raptors and the rest of the league. For Toronto, who is in an interesting spot following last season's championship and the subsequent departure of Kawhi Leonard, the deal signifies that Siakam is now "the guy."
Siakam is coming off a breakout season, during which he won Most Improved Player after averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and shooting 36.9 percent from 3. His much-improved offensive attack, along with his usual strong work on the defensive end were major reasons why the Raptors won their first title in franchise history last season.
While the Raptors were obviously thrilled he played so well, it did create a big question about his next contract. He played himself into a spot where he could demand max money, but would the Raptors be willing to give it to him? The answer, as we now know, is yes.
With Siakam now off the board for potential free agent targets next summer, this leaves teams looking to add talent with even fewer options. In addition, this contract, along with the extension they just gave Kyle Lowry, takes the Raptors largely out of play next summer. Before the Siakam deal, they were one of just a few teams with major cap space.
It remains to be seen just how good the Raptors will be this season sans-Leonard, as well as the path they'll take over the next few years. Will they keep Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka around to try and stay competitive? Or if they struggle out of the gates, could they opt to trade some of the veterans and start anew? Either way, Siakam is going to be front and center as Toronto moves forward.