The Toronto Raptors Rejected Trading Pascal Siakam For Russell Westbrook And Paul George In 2019

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

The NBA is full of "what ifs" that could have changed history for franchises, players, and the entire league. The summer of 2019 was a very entertaining one for the association, which had significant ramifications for several teams. 

But, they could have been even more drastic for specific squads if they gave the green light to certain trade offers. Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors and joined the Brooklyn Nets that offseason. In contrast, Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors to return home, signing with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Curiously, the Raptors had the opportunity to make a big move for two superstars right after winning the NBA championship. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Canadian franchise turned down an offer of Russell Westbrook and Paul George for Pascal Siakam. 

Clippers leadership -- Ballmer, Frank and general manager Michael Winger -- harbored fears that Presti was close to striking a deal with Toronto that would have delivered George to the NBA champions, sources said.

Had Presti been able to strike a deal for George with the Raptors -- and Leonard was willing to stay -- George was believed to be willing to join the Raptors too, sources said. Presti had been willing to pursue a package of Russell Westbrook and George to the Raptors, but no talks ever gained traction, sources said. Ujiri and Raptors GM Bobby Webster had no ability, nor inclination, to counter the Clippers' offer with a multitude of first-round picks into the middle of next decade, league sources said.

OKC asked for Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and four unprotected first-round picks as a starting point for Paul George. However, the Raptors didn't think the negotiations were serious from the Thunder's side and pulled out, leaving the door open for the Los Angeles Clippers to land PG13 and Kawhi. 

That was the end of an era for the Thunder. They started a rebuilding process where they've gotten over 15 draft picks for the next seven years. As for the Clippers, they are trying to play in the NBA Finals for the first time ever. George is carrying the team in Kawhi Leonard's absence due to a knee injury. 

The Raptors saw their 8-year playoffs streak snapped this year after a disappointing season where not even Siakam could save them. Perhaps they missed out on a great opportunity, but they don't seem to worry about that.