Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, left, fights for a loose ball with Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Saitama, near Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Pascal Siakam is officially a major part of the Toronto Raptors’ long-term plans.
The Raptors and Siakam have agreed on a four-year, $130 million maximum extension, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the signing has not been publicly announced.
ESPN first reported the agreement.
Siakam was a breakout player — and the league’s Most Improved Player — last season for the NBA champions, averaging career highs of 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He is entering his fourth season and now is under contract to the Raptors through the 2023-24 season.
Siakam was even better for the Raptors in the playoffs last spring, averaging 19 points and 7.1 rebounds in 24 games as Toronto went on to win its first title.
During the offseason, Siakam said he still believes his best basketball is ahead of him.
“I don’t feel no limits at all,” Siakam said. “I feel like it’s only the beginning for me and there is so much more to come. I’m just excited about the future and the possibility to even get better and better from this, and knowing that it’s only been three years. I’m in the league for three years and there is so much more growth and things that I can improve on … so I don’t think I’m going to stop now.”
Siakam’s rise has been meteoric. He grew up as a soccer player in his native Cameroon before being steered toward basketball — first getting noticed at a Basketball Without Borders camp in South Africa in 2012.
He made his way to college at New Mexico State, wound up as the Western Athletic Conference player of the year in his second season and eventually got drafted by the Raptors.
In 2017, Siakam was MVP of the G League Finals after helping Raptors 905 win that league’s title. And now he’s a max player, set to make $29 million in 2020-21 and just over $35 million in the fourth and final year of the new deal.