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Siakam thanks Toronto, fans following trade to Pacers


Two days following his trade to the Indiana Pacers, Pascal Siakam thanked Toronto and Raptors fans in a letter for the Players’ Tribune.

The 29-year-old forward spent the first seven years of his career in Toronto and was a core piece of the team’s first and only NBA championship in 2019. Drafted 27th overall as a developmental project in 2016, Siakam finished his Raptors career ranked in the franchise top-five in games played, points, rebounds and assists.

Siakam said that despite trade rumours, Toronto was the only place he wanted to spend his career.

“At some point, the Raptors pretty much made it known they were going in a different direction and didn’t want to extend me, and a trade was definitely about to happen,” Siakam wrote. “And I think my agent, you know, he’s doing his job, focusing me on the future, trying to remind me how there’s good things ahead. So he’s like, ‘P, though….. where do you see yourself?’

“And I’ll be honest what I answered. I was like, “Where do I see myself? I mean…… Toronto. I felt I could be one of those dudes who spends his whole career on one team. That was my mentality even with the rumours.”

Siakam became a two-time All-NBA selection and two-time All-Star with the Raptors and leaves as one of the best players in franchise history.

The Cameroonian went on to thank the city and the fans for making Toronto his home.

“None of that changes what Toronto has meant to me, though, and what it will keep meaning. That’s the main thing I wanted to say to everyone: This is home,” said Siakam. “Toronto made me feel like I belonged from day one.

“As far as the fans go, I want to say a few things. One: it’s so much love. Not just the love I feel for them, but that I’ve shared with them. The way that people in Canada have fallen in love with the Raptors while I’ve been here, it’s like it happened in just the right way, at the right time. When we were really ready for it — and needed it. So when we won, it’s not just the usual cliche to be like, ‘This championship belongs to everyone.’ With 2019, we really felt that it’s everyone.”

Siakam arrived in the NBA as part of a star-studded rookie class in Toronto that also included Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl. Guided by veterans Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the team became a perennial Eastern Conference contender.

The team reached new heights when Siakam took a leap following the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard. He was the team’s second-leading scorer through the playoff run, resulting in a six-game triumph over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals and in Siakam being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2018-19.

Much like Leonard did for the Raptors, the Pacers are hoping Siakam’s talent and championship experience will be a key piece to taking an exciting young team to the next level. 

Despite the move, Siakam went on to say that Toronto will always be his home, no matter what city he is playing in.

I’ll always be a part of this community. That’s what I meant about putting roots down — it isn’t just, you know, “Oh I have a house in Toronto.” It’s where I live,” Siakam said. “This isn’t ‘thanks for the memories,’ then I go someplace else. Basketball can take me all over the world. But like I said: This is home.

“And I’m Toronto forever.”