Three-and-a-half years after they traded Jakob Poeltl to the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster, the Raptors are said to be interested in reacquiring the veteran center, according to Marc Stein, who adds that Toronto has been exploring upgrades at the center position “for some time.”
Poeltl, 26, is enjoying a career year so far in San Antonio, establishing new career highs in PPG (12.4), RPG (8.8), and APG (2.7) through 34 games (28.6 MPG). He’s in the second season of a team-friendly three-year contract that will pay him $8.75MM this season and $9.4MM in 2021/22.
The Raptors likely don’t have any regrets about moving Poeltl in 2018, considering that trade helped buoy the franchise to its first-ever championship. However, the team has struggled to find reliable options at center since the departures of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in 2020.
The idea of adding Poeltl as a rim protector to complement talented, rangy defenders like Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam is an intriguing one. Poeltl could also be a good fit on offense as a rim-running pick-and-roll partner for Fred VanVleet.
Still, it’s unclear how motivated the Spurs would be to move Poeltl or what they’d want in return. San Antonio already has more talent and depth in its backcourt than its frontcourt, so the team may be reluctant to part with its starting center. If the Spurs are open to offers, Toronto could theoretically attach second-year big man Precious Achiuwa and/or draft assets to Chris Boucher‘s expiring $7MM contract.