The Toronto Raptors decided to include former Top 10 pick Jakob Poeltl in the famous Kawhi Leonard trade with the San Antonio Spurs. Just a few years later, Poeltl went from a somewhat inconsistent offensive big to a legitimate starter in this league and impact post defender.
Powell averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game last season. In a year drought with so much turnover and losing in San Antonio until a late push to earn the No. 10 seed, Poeltl suddenly emerging as a quality big man on both ends was one of the bright spots for the Spurs.
That won’t change the fact that Poeltl could still be on the trade market when the wheels of change really start to kick up in the offseason. San Antonio is still far behind the rest of the West, and a Poeltl trade could give them even more ammunition to surround Dejounte Murray with younger studs.
The Raptors were interested in getting a deal done for Poeltl at the trade deadline, and they could see that renewed when the offseason properly kicks off. Could a hypothetical Poeltl reunion in Toronto help get this roster the rim protector that they are in desperate need of?
Will the Toronto Raptors trade for Jakob Poeltl?
Toronto’s need for some more size hasn’t changed, as the disappointing season brought on by Khem Birch made the need for some shot-blocking even more pronounced. A pick-and-roll threat who can handle the dunker spot, Poeltl would bring that interior toughness and defensive know-how that Birch lacked.
Considering that he already has some familiarity with the way Nick Nurse operates from his days as an assistant coach, Poeltl’s transition back to Toronto should be relatively painless. Be it as a starter or bench player, Poeltl can fix one of Toronto’s most significant roster issues without sucking up many shots.
The Raptors missed a chance to reacquire Poeltl at a somewhat discounted rate, and not they have to live with the possibility that the Austrian big will require at least one first-round pick. A quality reserve would also have to go to San Antonio, which could force a third team to get involved.
Poeltl may not have been as developed as a contending Toronto team needed him to be when they traded him away, but he has come such a long way since then. Poeltl could contribute to Toronto’s next deep playoff run if Ujiri is creative enough in constructing a package to acquire him.