Damian Lillard vs Joe Cronin + Toronto Raptors stall extension talks with Pascal Siakam
The NBA was left in awe when Damian Lillard, affectionately known as Dame, found himself in a new uniform, representing the Milwaukee Bucks. Dame's move was met with mixed emotions, but his farewell to Portland was marked by gratitude and loyalty. In a heartfelt Instagram post and Instagram Live session, he thanked the city and even acknowledged reporters by name, emphasizing the importance of loyalty to him.
Dame's desire to express his gratitude and love for Portland, despite his exit, may seem contradictory. However, it underscores his character and deep connection to the city, even though he sought a trade.
In a revealing interview with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Dame shed light on the circumstances leading to his departure. He mentioned feeling a sour taste in his mouth, as a planned meeting with the Miami Heat during the summer league never materialized. What's intriguing is that when he suggested returning to the Portland Trail Blazers if the Miami trade couldn't be finalized, the Blazers' GM, Joe Cronin, firmly shut down that option.
This decision by the Blazers' GM sparked debate. Did he play his cards wrong by not considering Dame's willingness to stay in Portland, showing the value of loyalty? It's an interesting twist in this dramatic trade saga.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, also chimed in on the trade. He expressed mixed feelings, stating his love for Jrue Holiday, whom they had to part with to bring Dame on board. This interaction highlights the personal relationships that often intertwine in the NBA, transcending basketball.
Now, let's pivot to the Toronto Raptors and their involvement in the trade discussions. While it was rumoured that Pascal Siakam was reluctant to join certain teams, most notably the Atlanta Hawks, the Raptors held a firm stance. Despite Siakam's value, the Raptors were unwilling to part with him, effectively ending any potential deal. This decision raises questions about Toronto's commitment to its two-time All-NBA player.
Pascal Siakam currently stands at a crossroads in his career. With no contract extension talks in sight, the Raptors' future with him remains uncertain. His current contract allows him to sign a substantial four-year, $192 million offer. However, if he performs exceptionally well this season and secures an All-NBA team spot, that figure could skyrocket to $290 million. Even without the All-NBA selection, he could still command a five-year, $248 million contract.
The Raptors' hesitation to engage in contract talks with Siakam is perplexing. If they don't believe he's the cornerstone player they can build around, it might be time to consider parting ways.