Jakob Poeltl might not be the San Antonio Spurs' best player, but you could argue that he is the most valuable and important, especially when factoring in his position. He's their foundation on defense while also setting perfect screens that make getting players open a lot easier.
That being said, he's also an expiring contract who can walk to a team that's focused more contending. This would be tough for San Antonio and the worst-case scenario. The question here is, what's the absolute minimum that the San Antonio Spurs should accept before risking losing Jakob for nothing?
We know from prior reports that the Spurs are asking for two first-round picks. I believe this to be a high asking price, and the Spurs may need to be talked down. Chapter one of the art of negotiation is that you always ask for more than what you're actually fine with. That way, when the price is haggled down, it's brought down to the actual price that you were fine with.
The Spurs are setting the bar too high considering Poeltl's value
I believe that's exactly what the Spurs are doing here. Realistically they should get at the very least a single first-round pick for Jakob. Maybe some additional sweetener will be thrown in if a bidding war were to happen. What really prevents San Antonio from getting more is that other teams would view Poeltl as just a potential rental that can leave them in free agency.
The good news is that there should be a fair amount of suitors who could use a great defensive big man. All of them have some variation of first-round picks either to trade for this upcoming draft or down the line. Teams like Dallas, Brooklyn, Chicago, and the Lakers could all make plays for him. An unexpected injury can raise some urgency, too, but that's a two-way street for San Antonio.
Not only is there an equal amount of risk for Jakob having an injury, but San Antonio can't really afford to keep their requirements for a trade too high. Unrestricted free agency is a wild card where San Antonio can plan to bring Jakob back, but if one team can lure him away, then he will leave for nothing. That's the worst-case scenario for this Spurs team. Everyone can enter free agency with the best of intentions but in a player-empowered NBA, things change at a moment's notice.
Jakob Poeltl can choose where he wants to play this offseason, and there's no telling how that will pay off. San Antonio can definitely get value from him via trade but may want to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.