According to the latest reporting by Shams Charania of the Athletic, the Atlanta Hawks are the frontrunners to land Pascal Siakam in a trade with the Toronto Raptors. Reportedly, the Hawks have offered AJ Griffin, DeAndre Hunter and draft compensation to Toronto in exchange for Siakam. The main obstacle standing in the way of a deal is Siakam’s refusal to agree to a contract extension with the team that trades for him. If that were to be resolved, the Washington Wizards could also get involved to facilitate the trade and land a young player with potential.
The biggest need for the 2023-24 Washington Wizards is more frontcourt depth. Despite having a slew of rotation-level players in the guard positions, the Wizards are lacking in quantity and quality in big men positions. If they were to get involved in a trade, targeting young and promising centers makes the most sense for the future of the franchise.
A potential trade construction could look similar to this:
The Atlanta Hawks get their desired target and create an intriguing core of Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, and Pascal Siakam.
The Toronto Raptors get three young wings that they can develop. Hunter and Griffin have 3&D potential and Kispert fills their biggest hole on the roster; a knockdown shooter.
For a player inching towards 30 with an expiring contract on a team who missed the postseason last year, getting three young rotation-level players is an excellent return. They could get Okongwu from Atlanta as well, but they just gave Jakob Poeltl a massive long-term contract, so that seems unlikely.
The Wizards, on the other hand, lose Kispert, and that stings. Losing your best shooter for a team in need of shooting is tough. But the asset return makes this deal worth it. Onyeka Okongwu has been stuck behind Clint Capela in the Hawks rotation the past couple of seasons, but when he played, he has shown he has excellent defensive upside. He can switch out to the perimeter and protect the rim at the same time. There aren’t many centers around the league who provide that level of defensive flexibility. Plus, he is only 22 years old.
To pull of this deal, the Wizards may need to add some draft compensation or another player who the Hawks or the Raptors might be interested in, a la Delon Wright, Landry Shamet, or Danilo Gallinari. If it can land them a player with as much upside as Okongwu, this would be more than worth it for Washington.