Could Boston or Toronto make a better offer for Jakob Poeltl?

Jakob Poeltl
Jakob Poeltl / Justin Ford/GettyImages

San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl has frequently been mentioned in trade rumors, but it appears that two teams have emerged as strong contenders to land him. According to a report by Spurstalk's LJ Ellis, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are both aggressively pursuing the center ahead of the trade deadline. Additionally, considering he might be the best available center on the trade market, the Spurs are asking for not one but two 1st round picks.

The Raptors have long been in the market for a starting center, and they seem to be focusing heavily on reacquiring Poeltl. For at least a year, Toronto has been linked to their former player, and their interest in him suggests that they do not intend to blow up their roster despite being well below .500.

Instead, they may be looking for a big upgrade at center to help their existing core of OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Scottie Barnes. Meanwhile, the Celtics have also been interested in Poeltl for months and have upped their offer to remain in the hunt to land him. With that being said, which team can offer the Spurs more? Let's see.

Can Toronto or Boston make the Spurs a better offer?

The Toronto Raptors have plenty of talent on their roster but have struggled in a much more competitive Eastern Conference than in years past. Without a significant offseason move, they've been left by the wayside and are in desperate need of a trade to help right the ship. Fortunately, they have most of their draft picks as well as expendable salaries, making a trade for an upgrade possible.

A potential trade could include Khem Birch, Juancho Hernanagomez, and the Raptors' 2024 and 2026 first-round picks (both top-10 protected) for Poeltl. That's a competitive offer, and one that the Celtics would be hard-pressed to match.

As with the Raptors, the Celtics are a team that has recently done business with the Spurs. Aside from the obvious Derrick White trade a year ago next month, the Spurs and Celtics just recently agreed to a deal that sent Noah Vonleh to the Spurs in exchange for $1.4 million in cash. A theoretical Poeltl trade would make it three trades in a year, and it already seems that the Spurs' front office has a good working relationship with the Celtics' front office.

Boston might have a leg-up on the Toronto.

Something else that works in Boston's favor is that they have the unusual advantage of already having given up the rights to their first-round pick in 2028 to the Spurs. This is due to the pick swap that they agreed to in the White trade. However, as part of their offer for Poeltl, they would give the Spurs the entire 2028 draft pick with no swap rights.

That means the Spurs would have both Boston's unprotected pick and their own in 2028. Teams simply do not give up unprotected 1st round picks that are five years away from conveying, demonstrating Boston's seriousness. By throwing in a 2024 unprotected 1st round pick, they would have technically satisfied the Spurs' trade demands.

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All in all, both the Raptors and Celtics appear to be serious about trading for Poeltl, and they both have assets that the Spurs would want. However, it may ultimately come down to what Poeltl wants. The Spurs have a history of trying to do right by their players, and allowing Poeltl to choose between the two options is definitely a possibility. If that's the case, he may decide to return to Toronto, and the Spurs would accept their hypothetical offer.