Chicago Bulls Reportedly Interested in a Trade for Spurs Big Man Jakob Poeltl

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Chicago Bulls Reportedly Interested in a Trade for Spurs Big Man Jakob Poeltl

Chicago Bulls

News that the Chicago Bulls could be sniffing around the center market is nothing new, but NBA Insider Marc Stein did just expand on that rumor in a big way.

According to Stein’s latest Substack post, the Bulls are among several teams interested in trading for San Antonio Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl (h/t RealGM), who has one year left on his contract at an $8.7 million AAV. The Spurs are reportedly asking for a “future first-round pick and quality player” to get a deal done. So if you’re wondering, yes, the Chicago Bulls do have the assets to meet the Spurs’ demands.

While the latest Portland Trail Blazers trade – which signaled tank-mode for the organization this season – could impact the immediate value of the Bulls lottery-protected first-round pick, it is still protected for several more years. The Spurs could find that extra first useful as they continue their rebuild. Likewise, the Bulls do have a couple of interesting role players, the most desirable of which is certainly Coby White.

With all that said, I find it hard to believe the Bulls would pay this high price for a backup big man. Not only is Nikola Vucevic the starting center (and under control for one more season, just like Poeltl), but he is a significant part of this Bulls team’s success. I don’t see a world where this front office or head coach Billy Donovan prefers to lessen his role or greatly reduce his minutes on the floor.

Don’t get me wrong, a center rotation of Vucevic-Poeltl would instantly become one of the best and most balanced in the league. But as one of the NBA’s better offensive rebounders and rim-protectors, Poeltl has proven over the past two seasons that he deserves a substantial role. This year, he is averaging 13.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on a 61.4 percent clip from the field. He averages an impactful 28.7 minutes per game with an estimated plus-minus of +3.9, which ranks in the NBA’s 95th percentile, per Dunks & Threes. In the Spurs’ most recent game against Chicago, Poeltl dropped 21 points with 11 rebounds in a +30 performance.

Poeltl might fill some important holes on this Bulls team, but I’m not sure they can provide the time on the court he needs. I’m also not sure he is worth the Spurs asking price if he’s going to play a reduced role in Chicago.

So I think my broader takeaway from all of this is that the Bulls are actively looking for help behind Vucevic. Again, we already knew the team was interested, but this could give us even more reason to believe it is a point of emphasis with the deadline just six days away.

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.