3 bad contracts the Raptors’ Jakob Poeltl deal was better than

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 26: Jakob Poeltl #19 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 26: Jakob Poeltl #19 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors went into free agency assured mainly of the fact that recent trade acquisition Jakob Poeltl would be brought back. After parting with tons of draft capital and watching him transform the team’s defense, the fit seemed perfectly logical and natural.

Poeltl signed a four-year, $80 million contract with a player option after the third season. His ability to defend the rim, rebound the ball, make some very solid passes for a true 7-1 center, and finish at the basket all appealed to Masai Ujiri and new coach Darko Rajakovic.

Some observers may not like the idea of playing a No. 5 scoring option an even $20 million per year, especially when that player will be rooted to the paint on offense. The Raptors don’t seem to be overly concerned about that issue, as they helped him secure generational wealth.

Anyone decrying the Poeltl contract as an overpay must not have been paying attention to the rest of free agency, as dozens of contracts handed out made observer scratch their head in confusion. Three of them stand out as being multiple times worse than the Poeltl deal.

3 NBA free agency contracts worse than Toronto Raptors’ Jakob Poeltl deal

3. Max Strus, Cleveland Cavaliers (4 years, $63 million)

Strus could have been a solid fit for the Raptors’ bench, but the fact that they were able to grab a player that is starting to enter the prime of his career and is fresh off the best scoring season of his NBA life in Jalen McDaniels shows that Ujiri made the right move letting him slide.

Strus, who has become one of Miami’s more reliable bench players in the last few years, was given an insane amount of money to join a Cavs team that might utilize him off the bench. Strus was wildly inconsistent in the playoffs, making the Cleveland deal even odder.

The Toronto Raptors avoided Max Strus.

Add in the fact that Cleveland had to give away assets via the Cedi Osman sign and trade with San Antonio to bring Strus to town, and you get the perfect condition of a player cashing in off a career season and a team desperate for more shooting overpaying for a small sliver of relief.

Strus had a good year last season, and he will undoubtedly be a major help for a Cavaliers team who needed a player like him in the worst way, but it will be hard for even the most devoted Cavaliers fans to look at that contract and somehow spin it into a positive.