Jakob Poeltl trade grades: Raptors address hole at center; Spurs strengthen Victor Wembanyama odds

It turns out that the reports of the Raptors being interested in Jakob Poeltl ahead of the trade deadline were true.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Raptors are acquiring Poeltl from the Spurs for Khem Birch, a protected 2024 first-round pick and two future second-round picks. It’s currently unknown what the protection is around that first-round pick.

The trade reunites the Raptors with Poeltl, who they selected with the No. 9 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Poeltl spent the first two seasons of his career in Toronto before being included in the Kawhi Leonard trade that led to an NBA title.

How did the Raptors and Spurs fare in this deal? Let’s break down some trade grades for each team.

MORE: Latest Raptors rumors, news, updates ahead of trade deadline

Raptors trade grade

It’s no secret that the Raptors have lacked size at center. Poeltl checks that box.

Poeltl stands at 7-foot-1 and sports a 7-foot-1 wingspan. He’s a massive presence around the basket, and he’s established himself as one of the better rebounders and rim protectors at his position. He’s not a big-time scorer, but he plays within himself on offense and can put pressure on teams as a roller and cutter.

Poeltl has a history with Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Nick Nurse. As long as Siakam and VanVleet are still on the team past the trade deadline, it should make for an easy transition.

If you want a deeper breakdown of Poeltl’s game, click here.

Birch got his Raptors career off to a promising start, but he’s since battled injuries and has struggled to crack the rotation. It’s hard to evaluate the picks the Raptors are giving up without knowing the protection and what other deals they may make ahead of today’s trade deadline. (As TSN’s Josh Lewenberg wisely pointed out, the Raptors might be more inclined to give up a pick if they think they can add more.)

Still, considering how well Poeltl should fit in and what they gave up, this is a good deal for them — assuming, of course, that the Raptors re-sign him in the offseason, which they reportedly intend to.

Grade: B+

Jakob Poeltl contract details

Poeltl is on the books for $9.4 million in the 2022-23 season. He’s in the final year of his contract, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Jakob Poeltl contract details


2022-23 2023-24
Jakob Poeltl $9,398,148 UFA

Spurs trade grade

There was a report that the Spurs were looking for two first-round picks for Poeltl. They obviously didn’t get that, but getting one first-rounder and two seconds is still a decent return considering they’re very much in a rebuild and ran the risk of Poeltl walking in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

The Spurs already have one of the worst records in the NBA and some of the best odds of getting the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Trading Poeltl should only help their chances of landing Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson.

Grade: B

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