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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

Raptors could reunite with notable former player?

Masai Ujiri at a press conference

Sep 25, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri during a press conference at media day at the BioSteel Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Masai Ujiri may be bringing his guy home.

Veteran San Antonio Spurs reporter LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk reported on Wednesday that the Toronto Raptors are one of the two most persistent teams in pursuit of San Antonio center Jakob Poeltl. The Golden State Warriors are also said to be in that category.

The seven-footer Poeltl, who is averaging 12.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season, was a top-ten pick by the Raptors in the 2016 NBA Draft and played the first two seasons of his career in Toronto. But the Raptors traded him to the Spurs along with DeMar DeRozan as part of the Kawhi Leonard blockbuster in 2019.

There are obviously still a lot of familiar pieces in Toronto for Poeltl, who will be a free agent after the season. Ex-teammates OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet are all still on the team, as is head coach Nick Nurse, who was an assistant under Dwane Casey when Poeltl was there. Additionally, Toronto’s longtime president Ujiri headed the front office group that drafted Poeltl in 2016.

Ellis also notes that the Raptors’ interest in reuniting with Poeltl, 27, dates back to last season’s trade deadline. Granted, Toronto would likely have to surrender quality assets to get Poeltl back and are also competing for him with some other big dogs besides the Warriors.

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