2. Jakob Poeltl
The Spurs could have completed one of the biggest fleeces in NBA history this summer. San Antonio traded Poeltl to Toronto in February for Khem Birch and three draft picks, including one first-rounder. The Raptors missed the playoffs, and Poeltl became an unrestricted free agent. The 7’1 big man had the chance to return to San Antonio or go to any team with cap space, but he re-signed with the Raptors on a four-year $78 million deal.
The Spurs could have outbid Toronto but decided against it. Poeltl made $9.4 million last year and will now earn $19.5 million per season. It was a massive pay increase, and the Spurs want to keep their options in building around Victor Wembanyama open.
San Antonio will regret not pushing harder if Jakob Poeltl takes another step forward or Wemby’s best position turns into the four. Poeltl turns 28 just before opening night and is right in the middle of his prime. He could get more minutes and take his playmaking to another level. Wembanyama has a slender frame that could be best suited as a weak side rim protector and rebounder next to a muscular starting center. Wemby could be more Tim Duncan than David Robinson.
Poeltl got a massive contract, but the San Antonio Spurs may regret not jumping into the bidding, especially if they have issues at the five this season and beyond.