27-year-old San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl is among the best in the NBA at his position and has drawn interest from other teams. However, it appears that the Spurs may have second thoughts about moving him. In fact, according to a report by Spurs Talk's LJ Ellis, the team is interested in keeping him and pairing him with the likely No. 1 overall pick, Victor Wembanyama.
That, of course, assumes that they will end up with the number one pick in next year's draft, which is far from guaranteed. That said, they have a strong chance of finishing with one of the three worst records and being tied for the highest lottery odds.
Should the San Antonio Spurs actually trade Jakob Poeltl?
Keeping Poeltl through the trade deadline for a 14% chance of pairing him with Wembanyama seems like an odd strategy. And it probably is, but the Spurs' asking price for Poeltl is reportedly very high. That indicates that the Spurs don't actually want to trade him unless there's an offer that they can't refuse. By not trading him, the team could miss out on acquiring a first-round pick, but with a total of 13 over the next seven drafts, that is probably much less of a concern for the Spurs.
Assuming that offer doesn't materialize, they could try to re-sign him to a 4-year deal for between $64 million and $72 million. That seems high, but the salary cap is set to spike again after the NBA's TV deal expires in 2025. Also, Poeltl will only be 31—still relatively young for a center, considering they tend to have longer careers. Even if they don't land the top pick, the Spurs could still opt to re-sign him, given that they aren't likely to find a better center.
Still, according to Ellis' intel, the Spurs are hoping to form new twin towers with Wembanyama and Poeltl. At 7'3" and 7'0", respectively, they would be the tallest power forward-center combo in the NBA. Novelty aside, that pairing could work given Gregg Popovich's experience playing two bigs together, Wembanyama's unique skillset, and Poeltl's abilities.
Poeltl would still essentially play the same role he does now, but with Wembanyama in the fold, Poeltl's ability to defend players like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid would take on increased importance since it would keep Wembanyama from having to. That's reportedly the team's dream scenario, at least.
If that is indeed the case, I don't expect Poeltl to actually be traded in February, though the Spurs could still potentially move Doug McDermott and/or Josh Richardson for assets. That would allow the team to grow its stockpile of draft picks while still retaining its starting center. Ultimately, there are still a lot of moving parts to this plan, but hopefully, it will result in them drafting Wembanyama.