The unintended consequences of NBA All-Star weekend

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies grabs the tip to start the 2023 NBA All Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron at Vivint Arena on February 19, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies grabs the tip to start the 2023 NBA All Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron at Vivint Arena on February 19, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Well, the NBA All-Star break is over! Time to ramp back up for the “second half” of the season, or the 25 games remaining on the Oklahoma City Thunder schedule for those Mathitcally inclined who cringe at the second-half cop-out.

However, as we put a bow on our NBA All-Star weekend coverage, let’s talk about one unintended consequence of the NBA-wide event. The entire NBA world descends on one location, from media to players, and at times coaches and front offices join in on the fun. With so many movers and shakers in the sport all in one place, it is common for plans to be formed.

Shoutout to that infamous picture of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant whispering sweet nothings to each other in the bowels of the All-Star arena just months before teaming up in Brooklyn. With that, we all love to speculate on what the next backroom deal will be at All-Star weekend that shapes the future of this league.

The unintended consequence of NBA All-Star weekend falls on OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.

On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder fanbase had two main takeaways from the NBA All-Star game. 1) Fire Joe Mazzulla into the sun for only giving SGA nine minutes of action. 2) Look at that chemistry between Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakim, quick scramble over to Spotrac, and figure out when he is going to be available.

My Mentions and timeline were flooded with people asking about Pascal Siakim’s fit with the Thunder or just making “future Thunder” jokes that helped pass the time of an otherwise lackluster NBA All-Star game.

This is the unintended consequence of NBA All-Star weekend. Fans watch closely who players interact with at practice and press conferences and who plays well with whom in a glorified exhibition, all while admitting it is not real basketball.

We can all speculate about Pascal Siakim and his fit next to Chet Holmgren, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and this OKC Thunder young core. On the flip side, the Raptors fans are doing the same, envisioning bringing home the Toronto native.

That is less fun to think about; let’s focus on Pascal Siakam. Lucky for you, if you are someone that hopes Sam Presti will go out and land a big fish, there are not many counterarguments besides “be patient” someone like me can give you.

Just like the team, in your back pocket, you have all the draft picks in the world and some of the most salary cap space in the sport this upcoming offseason.

Siakam is under contract for 37.8 million dollars next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the 2024 offseason. That would mean not only would OKC need to pay a tall asking price from a notoriously stingy General Manager, Masai Ujiri, but they would also have to pay Siakam a pretty penny to stick around in Bricktown.

That would all be before they knew if the pairing alongside Chet Holmgren would work long-term. At the same time, we all have strong opinions about whether it would or would not. You never truly know until you see it for a couple of seasons and see what adjustments you could make to them and around them. Look at the Timberwolves handcuffing themselves to Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert this past offseason and how they feel about that duo now versus six months ago.

Handcuff would be my most significant counterargument to jumping on the Raptors’ power forward, even if Toronto makes him available this offseason. From the assets you need to deploy to acquire Siakam to the long-term money you have to dish out both to Siakam and the rest of this young core in short order, you would then trap yourself into this group of players for better or worse.

Waiting gives you a more defined idea of what you need to add to the youngest team in the NBA to get them over the hump. It allows you to see what Chet Holmgren looks like and what these players play in high-pressurized environments before making a move like this.

So while the NBA All-Star weekend allows for dreams and speculations of high-end transactions to run rampant, the Oklahoma City Thunder should and will still be in a patient mindset this offseason.

Next. Everything is still in front of the OKC Thunder after the NBA All-Star Break.. dark