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The Perfect Blockbuster Trade: James Harden For Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, And Two Future First-Round Picks

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The Perfect Blockbuster Trade: James Harden For Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, And Two Future First Round Picks

The Toronto Raptors exited the postseason in a respectable fashion. They have always played a great brand of team basketball, but sometimes that isn't enough. On one of the last shots in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, Fred VanVleet notably missed a 3PT shot that could have tied the game. That shot could have maybe been scored by a superstar, perhaps someone like James Harden? The playoffs showed that the Raptors still need that extra gear, and James Harden could be the spark that provides it.

While the Raptors have a great future currently, this trade for James Harden could happen if the Raptors feel like Pascal Siakam's development has stalled. Siakam is already 26 and had an abysmal showing in the playoffs against a good defense in Boston. The Celtics didn't let him get out in transition, and his effect on the game was stymied. While the Raptors may not do this deal if Siakam shows massive signs of improvement, it could happen if they feel like they can compete deep into the postseason by trading the two for each other. There has been a report linking the Raptors to James Harden, so a trade isn't out of the question.

Toronto Raptors Receive: James Harden

Houston Rockets Receive: Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, two future first-round picks

The Rockets Gain A Well-Trained Young Core

The Toronto Raptors development system is one of the best in the league. Their G-League affiliate has developed countless players into being elite NBA players, like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. When you're trading for players that are developed by the Raptors, the one thing you know is that they will all be fundamentally sound. They can pass, play their role, and shoot when needed. Any Raptors player that has played with Nick Nurse will play basketball the right way and be able to fit into a system. Siakam and VanVleet have managed to improve into being stars, and with that coaching foundation, they could take their talents elsewhere and thrive.

Norman Powell and OG Anunoby are both plus defenders who can shoot the 3PT shot. Powell in particular, had a mini breakout season, averaging 16.0 PPG while shooting 39.9% from deep. OG Anunoby is built to handle most forwards in the modern era on the defensive end and also shot 39.0% from deep. They are both amazing 3 and D players that would fit onto any roster, especially one with a ball-dominant point guard like John Wall. The two picks could be good if they are way far out into the future, as the Raptors' contention window with this trade would be limited to the remaining years left on James Harden and Kyle Lowry's motors. This trade package is good for the Rockets if they want completely proven players with high floors, instead of a young prospect who could become a bust.

The Toronto Raptors Get Yet Another Superstar

Before the 2018-19 season, the Toronto Raptors shipped out fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan, while landing themselves superstar Kawhi Leonard. The resulting team won the 2019 NBA title, but Kawhi Leonard left for Los Angeles, depriving them of their Finals MVP. The Raptors could swing for the fences again: Masai Ujiri is cold-blooded and calculated as a GM, but he's not afraid to take risks. Barring drastic improvement from young players and without a trade, the Raptors could be stuck as a mid-level playoff seed for the last few years of Kyle Lowry's tenure. Perhaps they would be willing to compete for the last few times with this core while having Fred VanVleet and Terence Davis for the future.

There's nothing hidden about James Harden and who he is. Harden is the best pure scorer in the league and everyone knows that. People have doubts about whether he can be the main guy on a championship-winning team: but by coming to the Raptors, he'd be entering a system where he could be the main guy, but still be part of a team culture that can pick him up when he has a bad game.

Lowry and VanVleet aren't No. 1 options scoring-wise, but they can definitely play off of a superstar, and make clutch shots if they have a good matchup. James Harden could be the next superstar on the Toronto Raptors: at the very least, he'd have assurances that Masai Ujiri could make moves to give him a consistently good roster. On the Raptors, Harden would have a coach that has won a championship, and a GM ready to make big moves. Toronto is not one of James Harden's preferred destinations, but if he was looking to contend, it is as viable as any.


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