San Antonio Spurs Rumors

The Spurs' Jakob Poeltl conundrum: to trade or not to trade

Jakob Poeltl - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers
Jakob Poeltl - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages
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Jakob Poeltl is perhaps coming off of his best basketball game in a San Antonio Spurs uniform, having put up a stat sheet-stuffing 31 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block in the team's narrow loss to the Portland Trail Blazers this past Tuesday. He made it to the rim with ease and had a highly efficient scoring night all while still maintaining his intimidating defensive presence around the hoop on the other end of the floor.

It's easy to forget that Poeltl is now in his seventh NBA season, making him a seasoned veteran at this point. And it's just as easy to forget that he only put up 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and less than 1 block per game in his first season with the Silver and Black. Even amidst Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell, Poeltl has quietly been one of the Spurs' most underrated and under-appreciated developmental success stories in recent years. He's been so successful lately, in fact, that many are beginning to second-guess the possibility of trading him.

Even so, the Spurs have undeniably reached a crossroads in their roster-building efforts, having traded both Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, along with unexpectedly releasing Josh Primo last month. Even taking Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Tre Jones' improvements into account, it's evident by now that the Spurs are undergoing a rebuild-- or at the very least a "retooling." Whatever you want to call it, especially given the fact that the Spurs selected three nineteen-year-olds in the draft this past summer, the 27-year-old Poeltl may not align with the team's direction.

I chose to go in-depth recently on why I think the Spurs selected Vassell over Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 NBA Draft because many conversations on that topic lacked context and nuance. Today, I'm diving deeper into the Spurs' Jakob Poeltl conundrum for that same reason. So let's look at both sides as objectively as possible to determine whether or not Poeltl being on the trading block is a likely or unlikely possibility.