Mavericks emerging as "dark horse" candidates in Jakob Poeltl trade talks
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, rumors around the San Antonio Spurs are starting to pick up steam. As an actively rebuilding team with several veteran trade pieces, San Antonio has been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for some time and now a new team has entered the fray as a contender to make a deal for one of the Spurs' best players.
Jakob Poeltl has been one of the hottest names in trade rumors for a while now. Teams such as the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics have been the most frequently mentioned but LJ Ellis of SpursTalk.com recently called out the Dallas Mavericks as a dark horse to watch out for.
Dallas Mavericks emerge as a dark horse trade partner for Jakob Poeltl
Ellis was sure to call out that both the Raptors and Celtics remain interested in making a deal for Poeltl. He also pointed to the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers as teams to watch. The real surprise came when he mentioned that a scout for a Western Conference team pointed to the Mavericks as a team to watch. Per Ellis's reporting, the scout believed that Poeltl would be "a talent upgrade in a position of need and he'd be a great fit for Luka's read-and-react style" and I agree.
Poeltl would be a great fit next to Luka. He doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective, he's happy to set screens and eat on high-percentage looks on the rim from fed up by one of the league's premier passers. His defense has taken a step back from where he was last season but he's still a force on that end of the floor. In trading for Poeltl, the Mavs would be effectively getting a Rudy Gobert-style player but at a fraction of the cost the Timberwolves had to pony up this summer.
It wouldn't be hard for the Mavericks to make the salary portion of the trade work; sending Reggie Bullock to San Antonio would easily clear out the room the Mavericks would need to take on Poeltl's $9.3 million expiring contract.
The only question is if the Mavericks would be willing to meet San Antonio's asking price of two first-round picks. That's been the line in the sand and from Ellis's reporting it sounds like the Spurs aren't budging. But why should they? They know Poeltl is a commodity around the league. And if no one is willing to pay up, then it sounds like they're more than willing to head into the summer with re-signing Poeltl being one of their top priorities.
Two 1st round picks might seem like a lot for a center like Poeltl, but right now, I think that's a price that the Mavericks would be willing to pay. According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Doncic is putting pressure on the front office to make a deal ahead of the trade deadline. If a franchise player of his caliber points to Poeltl as a player he wants the Mavericks to kick the tires on, you can bet they'll reach out.
With just over two weeks until the trade deadline, watch out for the Mavericks as a potential trade partner for San Antonio. They might be an in-state rival but I don't think that would prevent the Spurs from capitalizing on a deal if they feel it can help them build for the future.