Emerging Spurs big man Jakob Poeltl could be a key player in this year’s trade market

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The NBA’s annual trade window unofficially opens Thursday, when the majority of free agents who signed new contracts this past summer become eligible to be moved.

San Antonio Spurs Center Jakob Poeltl Figures to be an important player leading up to Feb. 9 trade deadline. Poeltl, 27, will reach unrestricted free agency for the first time in July, and that uncertainty — as with Pacers big man Myles Turner — often leads to trades that precede offseason activity, allowing a team to acquire a summer target before he even reaches the open market. Particularly a player such as Poeltl, who’s standing on the doorstep of his prime. The Nuggets were acquired Aaron Gordon Before his contract expired at trade deadline in 2021, and the Trail Blazers Landed Jerami Grant This summer, just before the end of his contract.

Poeltl averages 12.9 points per game and 9.9 rebounds. This is after four years of steady growth in San Antonio. The July 2018 deal brought Poeltl to this point. Kawhi Leonard Poeltl was shipped to Toronto by Toronto alongside the Spurs DeMar DeRozan.

At first, the Austrian giant was buried on San Antonio’s depth chart behind longtime All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. And so Poeltl fixated on their minute actions while riding Gregg Popovich’s bench. Poeltl was able to see the tricks of the trade through sparring sessions with the post-playing savants. There’s a shoulder bump and then there’s a quick succession footwork. “You get put in a spot where you’re like, ‘Oh wow, he really just got me there with this dumb little move,” Poeltl said. “You just automatically start implementing that stuff into your game. You almost, like, don’t even think about it.”

This summer, Jakob Poeltl of the Spurs is an unrestricted free agent. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images).

Poeltl slowly earned the trust of Spurs coaches, running the floor and contributing to the flow of San Antonio’s offense. “We had a year where we just relentlessly worked on pick-and-roll situations with Dejounte [Murray],” Poeltl said. After the help of defenders, Poeltl was able to drill pocket-pass floaters and passing reads. Poeltl is still very focused on free-throw shooting, with only 51.8% of all his career attempts at it. This season, the Spurs have focused on expanding Poeltl’s abilities as a playmaker, particularly when he catches at the elbows. “Every now and then make a move, try and get creative and go to the basket out of it,” Poeltl said.

His future may remain in San Antonio. Re-signing appears to be an option he will strongly consider if the deadline passes and Poeltl hasn’t changed teams. He is still young enough to help push the Spurs’ rebuild as San Antonio hurtles toward the top of May’s draft lottery. Yet a poll of league executives has Poeltl’s upcoming contract valuation between $15 million and $25 million annually, and the upper edge of that range could prove a pricey addition to the Spurs’ cap sheet amid a youth movement. Poeltl has found a new level in excitement as he explores the NBA waters.

“I’ve never been in this situation where unrestricted free agency is coming up. It’s a cool situation for sure, because in the NBA, a lot of times you are — I don’t want to say stuck — but it feels like you’re a little bit of a pawn. They can just trade you around wherever they want,” Poeltl told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not the mentality you should have while you’re playing, but it’s the reality of it. It’s possible for your contract to be passed around in any way or amount that you want. So it’s nice to be in this situation where you can kind of decide your own fate and evaluate what’s going to be the best situation for me.”

The RaptorsYahoo Sports sources said that Poeltl has been in the news since he was sent South. They continue to be mentioned as potential suitors by league personnel on this growing trade market. Poeltl has been linked to Boston in the past. However, the league-best Celtics don’t appear very active in the early trade chatter around the league.

Chicago had internal conversations regarding Poeltl ahead of last year’s deadline, sources said, and the Bulls One team rival executives are monitoring closely as a potential buyer. The league is waiting for more teams than just the Rockets (Magic, Spurs, Pistons and Pistons), to open for business.

Sources told Yahoo Sports that there are not ongoing negotiations between Nikola Vucevic and the Bulls to extend their contracts. Chicago never truly had significant negotiations to restructure their starting center’s deal. This could indicate that there is more trade activity between the Bulls and Chicago. Inquiring teams were told by Chicago officials that they believe they will make it to the playoffs if they are healthy. Early optimism was expressed by the organization about point guard Lonzo BallThe offense’s leader a year ago, he would be back from knee surgery in January. .

What are the benefits? the Lakers Are you trying to do it?

The Lakers are certainly keeping an eye trained toward the Bulls’ developments. A player like Zach LaVine would satisfy Los Angeles’ dreamiest returns for the two future first-round picks Rob Pelinka’s front office has left in their stable, although the murmured idea of flipping Russell Westbrook Vucevic, DeRozan and a much more realistic outcome would be for Chicago if it does indeed pivot from its postseason ambitions.

Los Angeles’ primary trade efforts at this juncture have centered around a much smaller outgoing package of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn Yahoo Sports sources said that the Lakers offered Bojan Bogdanovic a secure future. In an attempt to woo Bojan Bogdanovic, the Lakers approached Detroit with this proposal. However, the pick was highly protected. Sources say that Bogdanovic is a preferred pick for the Pistons. If Beverley is eventually moved to a rebuilding team like the Pistons’, sources say the gritty guard would love to return home to Minnesota should he become free agency via buyout.

Elsewhere in Detroit, multiple rival teams told Yahoo Sports the Pistons’ asking price to part with third-year swingman Saddiq Bey Unprotected first round pick Veteran reserve big man Nerlens Noel is widely expected to be moved ahead of February’s trade deadline, sources said, while Alec BurksNoel was also present in the draft-night deal with New York. He has attracted interest from other teams.

Knicks You want to make changes

League personnel have described the Knicks as being among the most active teams in the early stages of trade discussions, alongside the Rockets and Lakers. New York has made a lot of its roster available to be discussed, particularly in New York. Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish Immanuel Quickley, sources said. The Knicks are working with Reddish’s representatives to find him a new home, and there have indeed been conversations about rerouting him and Fournier to Los Angeles, sources said.

New York appeared eager to find a deal before Dec. 9, sources told Yahoo Sports, the two-month deadline for teams to acquire a player via trade and still be able to aggregate that player’s salary into a future deal before the trade buzzer sounds in February. Eric Gordon New York had initially targeted him, sources claimed, though no deal was reached. Sources say that the Rockets are not in a hurry to trade their veteran swingman, Houston, who has remained steadfast in his asking price for a first-round selection for many transactions cycles.

All the usual suspects

The league saw a new three-team structure formed between Atlanta and Phoenix this week. This would have sent an important message to the league. Jae Crowder Atlanta, according to sources, though the deal was thwarted by complications regarding compensation for draft-pick picks. The Jazz are interested in taking back John Collins, sources said, while that does appear antithetical to Utah’s goals of adding young players owed little future salary. Jarred Vanderbilt Phoenix has been known to make him a target in any activity with them. The Suns sought Vanderbilt’s inclusion in offseason discussions that would have brought Bogdanovic to the Valley, sources said. Suns guard Landry Shamet Crowder deals often include Crowder as a partner.

In recent seasons, Brooklyn was approached by the Hawks about Collins. Joe Harris. Sources said that Atlanta is not interested in the package at this time, as Harris has yet to return to his form after ankle surgery.

Indiana is another team worth keeping an eye on. Sources said the Pacers have told inquiring teams they’re searching for a power forward to join their rebuild that features a blooming backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton Bennedict Mathurin. Indiana also suggested that opposing front offices be open to discussing extension negotiations with Turner.

Some rival executives have painted that stance as a negotiating tactic to draw greater offers for Turner’s services. Sources say that there had not been any contact with Indiana about a contract before the center’s recent representation change. Turner would be open to the possibility of returning to Indiana during a career season, however.

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