San Antonio Spurs: Analyzing a potential Jakob Poeltl extension

DENVER, CO - APRIL 23: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets posts up on Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffson April 23, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 23: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets posts up on Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffson April 23, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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After a very strong postseason series against the Nuggets, will the San Antonio Spurs reward Jakob Poeltl with a contract extension this offseason?

The first couple months of Jakob Poeltl‘s San Antonio Spurs career were pretty rough as he had a difficult time getting consistent minutes in the big man rotation.

However, Poeltl eventually earned the trust of Gregg Popovich and started to see 18-21 minutes per game as the season progressed.

Those minutes jumped up a bit after San Antonio finally moved on from Pau Gasol‘s honorous contract, and Poeltl proved to be an essential piece of the Spurs’ roster as he played over 25 minutes per game against Denver’s big lineup.

The Austrian big man put up 7.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.7 blocks per game in that first round series and gave Nikola Jokic some trouble when they were matched up against one another.

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That series showed that Poeltl really can be the big man of the future to go along with Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker in the Spurs’ young core.

At 23 years old, the former Utah Ute is heading into the final year of his rookie contract and he would become a restricted free agent next offseason if he and the Spurs don’t sign a contract extension before the October deadline.

Restricted free agency is a dangerous game to play because it allows another team to set the value of a player’s contract which San Antonio would have to match if they want to keep him.

It’s hard to gauge the value of Poeltl’s second contract because it’s difficult to evaluate the value of the big man in today’s NBA. Poeltl does a lot of the things that modern bigs need to be able to do, and Gregg Popovich has historically preferred to play with two big men on the floor throught his coaching career.

However, that nebulous valuation may prevent the sides from seeing eye-to-eye on what Poeltl’s next contract would look like.

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If I had to guess, I think Poeltl is probably worth about $6 million per year in today’s NBA. If the Spurs could sign him to a contract around that number, I think it would be a solid deal for both sides.

We’ll see whether the Spurs’ front office and Poeltl’s representation can come to an agreement this summer or whether they’ll roll the dice and let him hit the restricted market next summer.

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