Raptors trading multiple picks for Jakob Poeltl would be a big mistake

Toronto Raptors - Jakob Poeltl (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Jakob Poeltl (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The NBA trade deadline is a couple of weeks away, and the Toronto Raptors are one of the teams who have been in the rumor mill regularly. The Raptors must make a decision to either go all in to make the playoffs or tank the season to get Scoot Henderson or Victor Wembanyama, potentially.

Toronto is not good enough to be a deep playoff team in the Eastern Conference because of how the team is currently constructed. Rumors are going around the league linking Toronto to names like Myles Turner, Jalen McDaniels, and Jakob Poeltl.

The Poeltl rumors have been heating up a lot because of a recent report from Spurstalk.com that claims the Toronto and the San Antonio Spurs discussed a three-team trade where Poeltl goes back to Toronto and the Spurs get draft compensation in return. The desirable Gary Trent Jr. would go to a third team.

Despite Poeltl being a need for the Raptors, they should not trade Poeltl if it means giving up multiple draft picks or Trent. The fit just doesn’t make sense.

The Toronto Raptors should steer clear of Jakob Poeltl.

Yes, trading for Poeltl can definitely help the Raptors. He’s a center, and they absolutely need another big, but not at the expense of Trent. They are ranked 30th in effective field percentage and 28th in true shooting percentage. Trent is Toronto’s best offensive perimeter player.

He’s shooting the ball at 44% from the field and 37% on 3-pointers. Without Trent, the Raptors would be even more laughable on the offensive end than they already are. Trading your best shooter for a big who can improve the defense, but cannot fill Trent’s shoes on the offensive end, is just not worth that price.

Should the Raptors give up two first-round picks for Poeltl?

The Athletic’s Jared Weiss reports that the Spurs asking price for Poeltl is two first-round picks. A three-team deal might make a bit more sense, but there is no justification behind trading an elite shooter and premium draft capital for someone who is rooted to the paint.

The Raptors could sneak into the playoffs with Poeltl, but is a play-in spot really worth it in the long run? Trading two first-round picks despite not knowing the direction of the team’s future is a risky move, especially if Poeltl doesn’t stay in Toronto since he’s a free agent this summer.

Even if he does stay, are the Raptors so convinced they will be good in 2023-24 that they will part with first-round picks to get Poeltl? I don’t see Ujiri trading two first-rounders for Poeltl. He knows giving up that many picks is a one-way ticket to mediocrity.

The Raptors have to make a decision soon. Do they want to be a playoff team, or do they want to tank? The uncertainty of the Raptors shows that they should not trade for Poeltl. The former No. 9 pick is a win-now trade, and Toronto is not in a win-now situation.

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