New suitor emerges in pursuit of Spurs' Jakob Poeltl

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies
San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

With approximately 24 hours until the shot clock expires on the NBA trade deadline, the rumor mill has exploded with hypothetical blockbusters. The San Antonio Spurs have come up as potential sellers numerous times over the last month. And they finally got the ball rolling on Tuesday with a low-key transaction with the Miami Heat to add Dewayne Dedmon and a 2028 second-round pick.

Although that deal was underwhelming, it might have opened the door for further moves from PATFO. Given the surplus of capable veterans on their roster during a full-steam rebuild, contending teams were always going to come calling about their availability. Jakob Poeltl has circulated in reports for weeks, and Marc Stein recently namedropped the Washington Wizards as the latest franchise looking into acquiring his services.

Stein writes that while Washington has shown interest in the seventh-year center, "there did not appear to be a deal match between the Wizards and Spurs as of Wednesday morning." So what can we glean from this tidbit of information? Mostly, it sounds like these interconference associates are in contact, but a trade isn't necessarily imminent.

From an outsider's perspective, pursuing Poeltl doesn't make much sense for the Wizards. Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford inhabit starting and backup center duties on their depth chart, and neither of them makes any potential package going back to San Antonio work financially. Perhaps Washington brass pictures a world in which Poeltl takes over the five-spot so Porzingis can slide to the four. Even that raises some questions.

Without Stein mentioning specific players that could convince both teams to shake hands on an exchange, we'll have to pick up the slack and create a reasonable bargain. The Spurs reportedly desire two first-round picks to move on from Poeltl, or at least something equivalent to that price tag. Do the Wizards have those kinds of assets?

Because the CBA doesn't permit franchises to trade their first-round picks in consecutive years, Washington can only ship the Spurs a 2025 and 2027 first-rounder. Here's where we run into an obstacle, Monte Morris and Will Barton are the lone non-star players that can help the cap-strung Wizards match salaries for Poeltl. San Antonio has no use for either veteran, so the negotiations are mute unless General Manager Tommy Sheppard is alright with mortgaging their future for a half-season rental and a playoff push.

The Silver and Black have the leverage in this situation, with zero reasons to green-light a deal that is anything less than they see fit for the longest-tenured player on their roster. Despite the risk of Jakob Poeltl walking for nothing in free agency this summer, the Spurs can offer the seven-footer more money and minutes than any organization on the open market. The front office is in a favorable position. Can they capitalize on that to make a brighter tomorrow for fans?

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