The Toronto Raptors promise to be a very active team in trade talks during the next few months, with improving their frontcourt depth near the top of their list. Old friend Jakob Poeltl makes sense as a target with the San Antonio Spurs falling off a cliff and his name percolating around the latest Raptors rumors drops.
The Raptors and Boston Celtics have degrees of interest in bringing Poeltl to their respective cities, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Despite the fact that the former No. 9 overall pick was traded to San Antonio in the Kawhi Leonard trade, Masai Ujiri has a degree of interest in bringing him back.
With Toronto’s lack of rim protection still a problem that could keep them out of the postseason, Ujiri may be willing to send a competent veteran and a first-round pick to the Spurs in order to recoup a part of the Leonard deal. However, this move is far from a match made in heaven.
Are the benefits Poeltl brings at the rim on both ends worth giving away top-end capital for a player that won’t fix the team’s biggest issue? Ujiri and Nick Nurse need to wrestle with these questions as they consider bringing the former Utah Ute back to Canada.
Toronto Raptors rumors: Pros and cons of trading for Jakob Poeltl
The Raptors’ only defensive standout over 6-9 on the floor is Christian Koloko, and he has very clearly hit a rookie wall. Rebounding and rim protection are needed, and Poeltl could check both of those boxes while also adapting well to a familiar scheme run by a coach he knows.
Poeltl has averaged 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game over the last two seasons while playing some truly terrific post defense. Poeltl is an ascending player that is in the middle of the best year of his career, which will be music to Ujiri’s ears.
Toronto Raptors rumors: Jakob Poeltl solves several issues.
Poeltl will be a free agent at the end of this season, and the Spurs likely will let him go if they win the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. Poeltl might not cost as much as he did last year in a trade, which could be advantageous for Toronto’s front office.
The Raptors could put Poeltl back in the starting lineup as the center with out without a healthy OG Anunoby, which will end the constant mixing and matching between Koloko and occasional starter Thad Young. If consistency is what they need, Poeltl might be an ideal target.