Grade the Trade: Raptors unload veteran for deadeye, draft first in bright future

What steps should the Toronto Raptors take if they win the No. 1 pick? This trade proposed by Bleacher Report is one of them, trading Jakob Poeltl for a sniper.
Kelly Olynyk, Utah Jazz and Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors
Kelly Olynyk, Utah Jazz and Jakob Poeltl, Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Laying out the trade

The Toronto Raptors may look at the draft board and identify a player other than Alex Sarr as the best prospect in the draft. The 2024 draft class is considered weak at the top, and weak classes are generally the most unpredictable. As many as seven or eight different players are in play for the No. 1 pick.

If the Raptors go with Sarr, however, they will likely want to move Jakob Poeltl to open up cap space and playing time for Sarr to develop. Bleacher Report recently proposed a trade idea for just such a scenario, targeting the New Orleans Pelicans as a team that may be interested in trading for Poeltl.

The Pelicans have struggled on defense over the past few seasons despite a plethora of elite perimeter defenders, and the reason is a lack of rim protection. Jonas Valanciunas is below average for a center, Zion Williamson is only effective as a weakside shot-blocker, and no one else on the roster has stepped up into that role.

The Pelicans could therefore target a center like Jakob Poeltl on the trade market, looking to add a true rim protector next to Williamson. Here is the proposed trade that would see the Pelicans trade for Poeltl:

Poeltl Pels trade

Jordan Hawkins was extremely solid as a rookie, and the Pelicans are likely going to want to hold onto the young sniper. At the same time, they have a crowded wing rotation, and Matt Ryan filled a similar role on a minimum contract. It's not insane to think they could make this offer, and Poeltl would solve a real need for them.

If the Pelicans are on board, should the Toronto Raptors make this trade?