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NBA rumors: Rockets could demand Pascal Siakam in James Harden trade with the Raptors

NBA news: Houston Rockets James Harden trade to the Nets
Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) lines up a shot on Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the third quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Playing in Tampa Bay this season, the Toronto Raptors are off to a disastrous 1-5 start. It has led to NBA rumors suggesting that Toronto front office head Masai Ujiri might need to pull off a blockbuster trade to salvage the season.

Obviously, James Harden has come up around the Association after he demanded a trade from the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Could a James Harden trade potentially be in the cards for these Raptors? According to new NBA rumors, that depends heavily on whether Toronto is willing to trade its only star player.

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NBA rumors: Rockets could demand Pascal Siakam in James Harden trade with the Raptors

NBA Rumors: James Harden trade for Pascal Siakam?
Dec 5, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) controls the ball against Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

““I’m sure it would have to be Siakam. I’m not sure, let me step back, but I would guess that the Rockets would want Malachi Flynn and then you’re looking at multiple first-round draft picks into the future. Probably lightly protected or unprotected,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported recently.

Whether the 26-year-old Siakam would be of interest to the Rockets as the centerpiece coming back in a James Harden trade remains to be seen. While he’s a great all-around talent, the forward is in the midst of a brutal start to the season. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists on a mere 41% shooting from the field.

NBA rumors relating to a James Harden trade have died down some with the Miami Heat bowing out of the sweepstakes and a trade to the Brooklyn Nets looking increasingly unlikely.

Related: Ideal James Harden trade scenarios

The Philadelphia 76ers have pushed back against reports that they are willing to offer up Ben Simmons in a James Harden trade. That’s now magnified after their red-hot start to the season under first-year head coach Doc Rivers. Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers are apparently unwilling to deal C.J. McCollum in a Harden trade and the Denver Nuggets are not willing to part with young forward Michael Porter Jr.

The backdrop here is Harden being in a rift with his organization and flat out violating the NBA COVID-19 protocols multiple times over the past month or so. That could potentially leave Toronto as a legit destination for Harden.

Related: NBA power rankings through two weeks of 2020-21 season

NBA rumors: How would a James Harden trade to the Raptors look?

NBA power rankings: Brooklyn Nets, James Harden
Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) before the game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Needless to say, it starts with Siakam heading to Texas. From there, a hypothetical Harden blockbuster to the north could look something like this.

  • Raptors get: James Harden
  • Rockets get: Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, Malachi Flynn and three future unprotected first-round picks

The question here becomes whether Toronto would take this risk. Harden has two more years remaining on his contract. Toronto is not seen as a major North American hub, as evidenced by Kawhi Leonard’s departure in free agency following the 2018-19 season.

The team is also 1-5 this season and could very well be picking in the lottery next June during what promises to be a loaded 2021 NBA Draft.

NBA rumors are going to continue surrounding a James Harden trade until the in-season deadline passes in March. For now, this specific Raptors rumor is the talk of the Association’s watercooler. Whether that leads to a blockbuster deal for the three-time reigning scoring champion remains to be seen.

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