What could Jakob Poeltl's new contract cost the Spurs?
San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl has drawn plenty of interest on the trade market recently and could very well be moved ahead of the deadline. There's no guarantee that the Spurs will ultimately trade him, however. The Spurs reportedly have long-term plans for Poeltl, and while a team offering two 1st round picks could definitely change that, they may ultimately decide to keep him. It won't be cheap, however, considering that he'll be a free agent and is expecting to earn at least $20 million a season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required).
While that may seem like too steep of a price for Poeltl, he could absolutely sign a lucrative new contract that would pay him significantly more than what he's making now. After all, while Poeltl isn't quite a top-10 center, he's still among the best players at his position in the NBA and could earn more than most starting fives because of when he'll hit the free agency market. But what would Poeltl's new contract look like? Let's find out.
Poeltl will likely have to settle for less than what he's seeking.
With Poeltl seeking a new contract worth around $20 million per season, that would mean his next deal would be approximately a 4-year, $80 million deal. It's possible that he receives that offer this summer, but there are other free-agent centers that could undercut his market value. Kristaps Porzingis and Naz Reid, for example, are starting-caliber centers that will both be unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Additionally, only 10 centers make at least $20 million a season, and eight of those players have made at least one all-star team. Poeltl is a tier below those players, so even with a steadily rising cap, it seems unlikely that he'd make as much as he's seeking.
Instead, I could see him signing a new 4-year deal worth $70 million, or roughly $17.5 million annually. Of course, there could be incentives that could push his next contract closer to the $80 million territory. If the Spurs were to re-sign him, they could add unlikely incentives, much like they did with Dejounte Murray's contract.
For instance, he could receive $500,000 each for leading the league in field goal percentage, rebounding, blocks, or making the All-Star team. While each is technically possible, they wouldn't count against the Spurs' cap space unless he reached any of those goals, in which case the Spurs would surely be willing to pay him.
All in all, should the Spurs decide not to trade Poeltl, he could be in for a significant salary increase. Despite that, Poeltl's unlikely to receive the $20 million a season that he's seeking given the number of talented centers also hitting free agency. That could possibly result in him signing a new deal worth $70 million over four years.