4.) The Jakob Poeltl Trade
Nearing last year's trade deadline, it was unclear if the Spurs would move starting center Jakob Poeltl. Wright ultimately decided to trade him to the Toronto Raptors for a top-six-protected first-round pick and two seconds. Toronto missed the playoffs last season and could miss the playoffs next season, especially if they decide to trade Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.
That complicates a potential rebuild since they would have to finish with one of the two worst records in the league next season to completely avoid the risk of losing their pick. Keeping their roster together means that they probably won't make the postseason, but they won't be bad enough to reach that threshold. It's a catch-22: trade your best players just to try and keep your pick, or give up a likely lottery selection.
That isn't nearly as complicated for the Spurs. That pick is top-6 protected in 2024, 2025, and 2026 meaning that Toronto would have to be terrible for three seasons for San Antonio not to receive that pick. Assuming that the pick falls in the 7–13 range, the Spurs would be receiving a lottery selection for trading a player that they may have been unwilling to re-sign at a high price.
After all, Poeltl signed a four-year, $80 million contract with Toronto. Meanwhile, his replacement, Zach Collins, actually put up better numbers post-trade last season and is set to make just $7.7 million next season. Wright ultimately swapped out Poeltl with a much cheaper and more productive option, and the Spurs might receive a top-10 pick for their trouble. Not bad at all.