Spurs: 3 Free agent targets that got away, 3 to still pursue for 2024

San Antonio Spurs, Brook Lopez, Jakob Poeltl
San Antonio Spurs, Brook Lopez, Jakob Poeltl / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Jakob Poeltl

The Spurs traded Poeltl to Toronto in February for Khem Birch and three draft picks. The 7’1 big man was a fantastic fit in San Antonio, and the rumors had fans thinking they may have fleeced the Raptors for a four-month rental. It did not become reality as Poeltl stayed in Toronto on a new four-year deal worth $80 million.

The Spurs had the money to outbid the Raptors as they started with $34 million in cap space. They were not comfortable going over $20 million per season, and Poeltl will be in his early 30s by the end of the contract. Victor Wembanyama will likely take over as the Spurs’ center in two years, which could have left Poeltl with a diminished role.

Spurs fans were dreaming of watching a Wemby and Poeltl frontcourt, but it was not meant to be. San Antonio would still like to add a center that can play next to their prized rookie, but they are looking to agree to a shorter and cheaper contract.

The Raptors had a busy opening night of free agency, including bringing back their starting center, working out an extension with a wing, and finding a replacement for Fred VanVleet, who departed in free agency.