NBA Trade Rumors: Is Kobe Bufkin the key to the Hawks acquiring Pascal Siakam?

NBA Draft prospect Kobe Bufkin (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Draft prospect Kobe Bufkin (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) /

NBA Trade Rumors: After talks between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors fell through, Kobe Bufkin could be the key to closing a Pascal Siakam deal.

Dating back to last year’s NBA Trade Deadline, Pascal Siakam has been name that has been thrown out as a possible trade candidate. With Fred VanVleet electing to not re-sign with the Toronto Raptors this offseason, ultimately leaving to sign with the Houston Rockets, those whispers only grew over the past couple of months.

That said, there was still no huge movement toward a trade. The Atlanta Hawks and Raptors reportedly discussed a Siakam deal but nothing ultimately materialized. At one point this offseason, the Hawks were named as the most likely landing spot for Siakam. In the end, the two sides simmered on the talks and it appears that Siakam is going to enter the season on the Raptors roster.

Even though Siakam is going to start the season in Toronto, it would be somewhat surprising if he finished the year there. Quite frankly, it would not be surprising if the Raptors and Hawks revisited trade talks at some point before the NBA Trade Deadline.

Is Kobe Bufkin the key to the Atlanta Hawks landing Pascal Siakam?

If they do, there’s one name that could end up shifting the momentum on a potential Siakam deal – Kobe Bufkin.

According to a recent report, Bufkin is one player that the Hawks refused to include in trade talks for Siakam. Atlanta selected Bufkin with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and is considered an intriguing high-ceiling prospect that Toronto would gladly take in any deal for Siakam.

Considering he wasn’t included in any trade offers over the summer, you can’t help but wonder if he’s an inclusion that would completely shift Toronto’s willingness to accept a deal from Atlanta.

There’s a good chance that it would. Siakam is officially an expiring contract and even though he’s still a star player that is in his prime, he likely isn’t going to demand the return that a normal star player would due to his contract situation.

Siakam has already made it clear that he is likely going to test free agency next summer, even if he is traded. That is naturally going to scare a few teams away from either offering fair value for Siakam or entering the bidding war at all.

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If including Bufkin in an offer guarantees the Hawks land Siakam, would they make the deal? That’s the bigger question.