With the deadline for rookie scale contract extensions inching closer, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has provided the latest lowdown on the contract talks involving several top extension-eligible players, including Toronto Raptors forward and reigning Most Improved Player of the Year Pascal Siakam.

In the latest episode of Woj & Lowe podcast, the veteran NBA insider explained why Siakam is the next one who will most likely get an extension out of the 2016 NBA Rookie class that also includes Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield, Domantas Sabonis and Jaylen Brown.

“Siakam at the top [of the class], he’s going to get a max contract [five-year, $175 million]. If he doesn’t get one from Toronto or something close to it [home discount], Siakam out of the market place next summer will get a max contract,” Wojnarowski stressed on the ESPN podcast/video below.

He went on to further expound the value of Siakam going forward for the Raptors, especially now that Kawhi Leonard is no longer on the team.

“Look at him, 25 points a game, 60 percent shooting in the finals in the four wins. You saw him what he looks like without Kawhi Leonard. His numbers, when Kawhi missed so many games with load management, were staggering.

He's 25-years-old, he didn’t start playing basketball until he was 16. I mean there’s a growth and upside. I mean Masai Ujiri drafted him, they developed him there. He is their guy,” Woj added.

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The upside and downside of Siakam extension

NBA writer Steven Loung of SportsNet Canada laid down the pros and cons of extending Siakam before the October 21 deadline.

While Loung agreed on offering Siakam a max contract or something close to it if the plan is locking him up long-term in the first place, he still wants Masai Ujiri and the Raptors front-office to take a wait-and-see approach since signing him to $170 million over five years would significantly compromise their payroll flexibility in anticipation for the loaded summer of 2021, when Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Bradley Beal, and Leonard are expected to hit the free agency market.

Moreover, no one really knows if Siakam will take another giant leap towards stardom this season. Sure, the numbers showed he has the capability to carry the scoring load for his team. Then again, the jury is out if he can really take the Raptors back to the title contention.

Taking the Next Step

Siakam averaged 16.9 points on 54.9 percent FG shooting with 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists on his way to winning the Most Improved Player of the Year last year.

This season, he’s expected to even double his production now that he’s thrust into the role of being the No.1 scoring option for the Raptors.

NBA analyst Vivek Jacob of Yahoo Sports set an ambitious goal for Siakam, saying the Raptors forward should aim to make in the All-NBA team at the end of the 2019-2020 season.

“What I want to see Pascal Siakam do this season is make an All-NBA team.

I mean when you look at what he did last season, winning Most Improved Player and even get an All-NBA vote. Can he take that to the next level? When I look at Kawhi leaving and saying Paul George is gonna be the best player he will play with. If I am Pascal Siakam, I take it as a shot and say that I can be at that level,” Jacob said on the Yahoo Sports Canada podcast.

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