Ranking 9 Toronto Raptors contracts from bargain to nightmare

Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl and Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors
Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl and Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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No. 1: Jakob Poeltl is on a nightmare contract

The Toronto Raptors really stepped in it last season.

Looking at the remnants of a championship team, the front office decided to push the chips in to make one more run at merely making the playoffs. They weren't hoping for one more title run, or even a shot at the Conference Finals. The Raptors traded real draft assets for center Jakob Poeltl to improve their chances of merely making the playoffs.

They fell short, losing in the Play-In Tournament, and then faced another decision. Did they commit significant money to Poeltl, locking them into a non-shooting center when their best young player was a shaky shooter himself in Scottie Barnes? Or did they let their investment disappear into the winds of free agency?

Toronto felt it had to re-sign Poeltl and largely wanted to; the same logic that applied to trading for him applied to retaining him. Poeltl signed a four-year, $78 million contract that averaged $19.5 million per season, with a player option on the final season.

Jakob Poeltl is a good rim protector, but he's not an elite one; he's a decent lob finisher but struggles to finish in traffic; he's an improved passer but a far cry from some of the talented big man distributors in the league. He shot 55.1 percent from the free-throw line this season and improved his career percentage. He has attempted just four 3-pointers in his entire career.

Poeltl is older than Toronto's young core, does not have a spotless health record and is only a decent fit with the rest of the key players. The Raptors would be much better off finding a more mobile defensive center who offers something on offense other than dunks if there is no one in the paint. Yet the Raptors can't afford to invest in the position when they have so much money locked up in Poeltl.

Perhaps they will find a trade suitor for Poeltl and can reset at the position, but more likely the front office that loved Poeltl enough to trade multiple draft picks for him (possibly the seventh or eighth pick in this year's draft included) and to re-sign him to a lucrative and long contract will still love him enough to keep him as the long-term starting center.

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