7 Jakob Poeltl trades the Raptors must explore to maximize their rebuild

The Toronto Raptors should fully embrace their rebuild why they can, trading Jakob Poeltl in one of these seven deals to add prospects and draft picks.
Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors
Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors / David Jensen/GettyImages
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No. 5: Jakob Poeltl traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder won a lot of games this past season with their young collection of talent and a 5-out lineup where every member of the starting lineup could shoot and they exclusively played centers with range. What that cost them in the palyoffs was the size to clear the glass and the defensive versatility to have both a paint protector and Chet Holmgren roving to make plays.

The Thunder understood they needed to arm up this summer, and they started that by flipping young playmaker Josh Giddey for defensive dynamo Alex Caruso. That deal makes them even more dangerous defensively, but it also makes them even smaller. Their need for size on the interior has only increased, and the question remains how they plan to address that need.

Given that the Thunder have been linked to multiple traditional centers in free agency, it doesn't seem that far-fetched that they would consider trading for a rim protector with size, either to start with Holmgren in a large frontcourt or to back him up. Jakob Poeltl is significantly larger and stronger than anyone else on the roster and would give them that interior size. Here is one way a deal could be structured:

Poeltl Thunder no Giddey

The Thunder get a starting center who can immediately raise their rebounding and rim protection, and when you combine that backline with the ballhawking of the rest of the roster you get a team on the fast track to the No. 1 defense next season. They add him without moving off of a single core player, instead giving the Raptors an upside prospect in Ousmane Dieng and the No. 12 pick in addition to taking back around $8 million more than they send back, cracking open more cap space for the Raptors to use in replacing Poeltl.

For the Raptors, this deal cleans up their books significantly both this summer and beyond, and between the No. 12 and No. 19 picks they have options available to draft a replacement at center. Dieng still has upside to become a difference-maker, while the two Williams are both proven role players who would have value on the trade market. The value for Poeltl here is fine, not great, but it offers an intriguing level of flexibility.

Grade: C+