With the San Antonio Spurs in the early stages of a rebuilding effort, they may be looking to move some veteran players to add more draft capital. One team tends to start doing this using expiring contracts, like Jakob Poeltl.
Poeltl, who turns 27 at the start of next season, is coming off a career year averaging 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He shot 61.8% from the floor and was the anchor of the defense. He has positioned himself well to land a lucrative contract next offseason.
Spurs may not be able to sign a new contract with Poeltl given that he won’t fit their rebuilding schedule. There’s more value in him going to free agency next offseason than waiting for a young player to be drafted into his position and favored.
There will be no shortage of potential landing spots for Poeltl in the upcoming offseason should he reach free agency. Risking losing him for nothing when the goal is to maximize draft positioning anyway doesn’t seem like the optimal approach. As a result, Poeltl’s name is one to watch in trade rumors for the foreseeable future.
In a trade speculation article, NBA Analysis Network reached a hypothetical deal that would send Poeltl to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange, Spurs would receive Grayson Allen and two future first-round pick trades.
San Antonio Spurs receives: G/F Grayson Allen, 2028 first-round pick (trade – MIL), 2029 first-round pick (trade – MIL)
The Milwaukee Bucks receive: C Jakob Poeltl
If Spurs’ goal for the 2022-23 season is to do what it takes to maximize their draft positioning, leaving Poeltl would be a great option. His overall defensive impact raises the ground for the group in a way that would lead to legitimate decline in trading him.
The contributions Brook Lopez has provided to the Bucks have been invaluable. He’s a very solid all-around defender and his adaptation as a peripheral shooting threat has gotten the best out of Giannis Antetokounmpo as he has developed.
One thing to consider, Lopez turns 35 next April. He has just completed a 2021-22 campaign limited to just 13 appearances due to the need for back surgery. Bobby Portis provides a needed boost, but it’s beneficial to have another talented center in the mix.
The Bucks signed DeMarcus Cousins midway through last season when Lopez was dealing with his recovery from back surgery. His tenure only lasted 17 games, but again, it helps to not have to wait to bring in free agents mid-season when injuries arise.
Milwaukee is making the most of Antetokounmpo’s bounty and doesn’t have great options to make outside roster changes due to limited flexibility. It makes sense to find more depth in the frontcourt to add to their core before Lopez gets sidetracked.
The Bucks don’t have many assets at their disposal. They can use future capital projects as trades of choice, but cannot afford to part with major assets for complementary talent. With Poeltl on an expiring deal, it’s even riskier, but it looks valid to maximize their 2023 title shots.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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