Spurs continue to milk Jakob Poeltl trade for all its worth (Updated trade return)

The Spurs got a top-ten pick and more for Jakob Poeltl at the 2023 deadline.
San Antonio Spurs, Jakob Poeltl
San Antonio Spurs, Jakob Poeltl / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs were 14-41 and near the bottom of the Western Conference standings at the 2023 trade deadline when they traded starting center Jakob Poeltl to the Raptors. Toronto needed a big man upgrade and was willing to give up Khem Birch and three draft picks to get one in a much-discussed trade since happened.

Poeltl signed a four-year $78 million contract to stay with the Raptors last summer. He has a player option in the summer of 2026. The 28-year-old averaged 11.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game in his first full season in Toronto.

The Spurs drafted Sidy Cissoko in the second round in 2023 and got the eighth overall selection in 2024. It was top-six protected by the Raptors. Toronto finished with the sixth-worst record but slipped to eighth in the draft lottery. The Spurs traded it to Minnesota for an unprotected first-rounder in 2031 and a 2030 pick swap, which made their return even bigger.

Spurs add more to their return from Jakob Poeltl trade

Things got a bit wild here. The Spurs got a 2025 second-round pick from Toronto but traded it to Dallas in the Grant Williams sign-and-trade. The Mavs gave them a 2030 first-round pick swap and Reggie Bullock to make the math work. Fans won’t know for years what came of that swap, but the deal got even better for San Antonio.

Raptors receive

Jakob Poeltl

Spurs receive

Khem Birch

Sidy Cissoko

Reggie Bullock

2030 1st round pick swap (via Dallas or Minnesota)

20311st round pick

San Antonio is relying heavily on one of these upcoming picks to sway this deal. Birch never played a second for the Spurs and was out of the NBA last season. Cissoko appeared in just 12 contests and played a total of 141 minutes as a rookie. The 6’8 forward has upside but is multiple years away from having an every-night role in the NBA.

The Spurs need one of these selections to become a starter and key contributor around Victor Wembanyama. If not, this trade will look disastrous for San Antonio. They did not want to pay Poeltl and drafted his replacement three months later, but the return for this trade is lacking if someone doesn’t blossom.

This will not go do as one of the San Antonio Spurs best trades of all-time, but there is still a chance it turns into a slam dunk. Credit Brian Wright and the Spurs' brain trust for getting a top-ten pick for Poeltl’s expiring contract. They turned it into an unprotected future selection, but this trade could massively improve from here if things break right.