When the San Antonio Spurs signed Jakob Poeltl to a three-year, $26.3 million deal in 2020, it wasn't a big gamble based on the promise he showed. His rise since then has made him one of the biggest bargains in the NBA, which could come back to bite them in the wrong circumstances.
"The downside to the team-friendly deal is that the Spurs are limited to what they can offer the center in an extension," said ESPN's Bobby Marks in his offseason guide (subscription required). According to Marks, Poeltl can sign a four-year, $61.5 million extension, which would rank him in the bottom half of starting centers with an annual salary of $13.7 million.
Poeltl averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks this season and made $8.75 million dollars. He'll obviously be due for a considerable bump in salary after his remaining $9.39 million is paid for the 2022-23 season. If he has a repeat performance this year without an extension in place, he could be due for a bigger payday from another team that the Spurs can't offer.
Jakob Poeltl offers encouraging comments about Spurs
In an interview with the Australian sports portal LAOLA1.at, Poeltl shared some thoughts about his future and what he'll be prioritizing.
Here's the original quote, as loosely translated from German to English by Google: "For me, the question is where I feel most comfortable and where I can lead my lifestyle in the foreground, not whether I can tease out a few million more."
What this seems to hint at is that Poeltl might have higher priorities than getting a big payday for his next contract, possibly leaving another team-friendly deal in the form of an extension on the table. "We managed to build up great chemistry... and do a lot more on our own...that's why I really enjoy it and I can imagine staying here," continued Poeltl. "The conditions are perfect."
Still, Jakob is well aware that players on expiring contracts are always more tempting in trades, so he's prepared for anything this offseason. "I've experienced that before," he told LAOLA. "It's nothing new for me. I'll go my own way."
Poeltl goes on to say he knows his worth and what he brings to the team, which is something the whole fanbase took notice of this past season. Ultimately, we'll have to wait to see what the front office does with their rising big man, but it's good to know he's hoping to make it work in the Alamo City.