Toronto Raptors Land Big Man Jakob Poeltl From Spurs

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Toronto Raptors Land Big Man Jakob Poeltl From Spurs (Once a Rumored Bulls Target)

Chicago Bulls

Before the blockbuster Kevin Durant deal broke the internet, the Toronto Raptors made their own significant trade deadline move by acquiring San Antonio Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Poeltl will head back to the team that drafted him in 2016 for Khem Birch, a protected 2024 first-round draft pick, and two future second-rounders.

Poeltl has been one of the hottest names on the trade market dating back to last year’s trade deadline. He has established himself as one of the best rim protectors in the NBA (averaging 12.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game), and there were questions about the Spurs’ intentions to re-sign him in unrestricted free agency this summer as they look to continue their rebuild.

Indeed, the Chicago Bulls were the first of a few teams originally rumored to have interest in the big man during the 2021-22 campaign. With Nikola Vucevic heading toward unrestricted free agency himself, it was hard not to wonder if they still might have interest in Poeltl this season and view the defensive-minded 27-year-old as a better long-term fit for their future plans. However, we hadn’t heard really any rumors connecting the two this season, and he’s now headed to an East rival.

For Toronto, they finally fill a significant hole at the center position, but the timing is a bit confusing. They’re currently one of the NBA’s favorite blow-it-up teams, with names like Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., and OG Anunoby all on the trading block. Woj even noted that conversations about Anunoby are expected to continue into the final hours of the deadline. Poeltl is young enough to include in a retooling of sorts, but it would be strange to acquire him only to throw in the towel on a multi-year rebuild.

I guess we’ll just have to keep an eye on what else this team does in the next handful of hours.

Author: Elias Schuster

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