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#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Articles tagged: Jakob Poeltl

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.

Warriors could make big upgrade at center?

Bob Myers holding a microphone

May 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers addresses the media in a press conference after naming Steve Kerr (not pictured) as the new head coach for the Warriors at the Warriors Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors have long been the sultans of small-ball, but it may finally be time for them to adapt.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reported on Wednesday that rival executives believe the Warriors covet additional size in a potential trade. Pincus adds that San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl or Indiana’s Myles Turner, two very popular trade candidates at center, are players who could be targets for the Warriors.

Poeltl, 27, is bigger and a better inside scorer while Turner, 26, is the more versatile player as well as the superior three-point shot-maker. Both are fantastic rim protectors, and both will be free agents after the season.

With seven-footer James Wiseman in the G League, the Warriors are relying on a mix of Kevon Looney (6-foot-9), JaMychal Green (6-foot-8), Jonathan Kuminga (6-foot-8), and Draymond Green (6-foot-6) for center minutes. While they overcame their lack of size to win the title last season, Golden State is now just 8-10 on the year, ranking as the sixth-worst rebounding team in the NBA.

The list of suitors for both Poeltl and Turner is lengthy though. The Warriors will need the trade assets to compete, including against some major rivals.

Celtics targeting big upgrade at center?

Brad Stevens with his arms extended

Apr 22, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reacts following a call during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks in game four of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It almost feels like the Boston Celtics have not had a dominant true seven-footer since Robert Parish. But that could all change in the coming weeks.

On an episode of “The Hoop Collective” this week, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentioned San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl as a possible Celtics trade target that industry people have been speculating about. Windhorst notes that the Spurs and the Celtics already linked up on last season’s Derrick White trade.

The 27-year-old Poeltl owns averages of 13.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game this season. He is an oak tree of an interior defender at 7-foot-1 and has superb touch around the basket as well with his 62.9 career field goal percentage. Poeltl will be a free agent after the season, having failed to agree to an extension with the Spurs last summer.

The Celtics are still waiting on injured starting center Robert Williams, who will likely miss another month or longer after undergoing left knee surgery. In the meantime, the team is making due with 36-year-old Al Horford and placeholders Luke Kornet and Noah Vonleh getting most of the 5 minutes.

Adding a player like Poeltl would solve their issues in the short-term while also giving them the flexibility to either re-sign Poeltl after the season or let him walk depending on Williams’ health. Poeltl is a pretty in-demand asset though, one of many on the San Antonio roster right now.

H/T RealGM

Report: Spurs shopping 3 noteworthy players

Gregg Popovich looking on

Apr 10, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich looks on during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Though the San Antonio Spurs already traded All-Star Dejounte Murray earlier this summer, the sell-off may only intensify from here.

Veteran Spurs writer LJ Ellis reports Monday that center Jakob Poeltl and guard Josh Richardson are two players who have commonly been involved in the Spurs’ trade talks. San Antonio is reportedly seeking a first-round draft pick in exchange for the latter and two first-rounders for the former.

Ellis adds that the Spurs have also shopped former College Basketball Player of the Year Doug McDermott this summer but have received little interest.

After going 34-48 last year, the Spurs seem to be eyeing a full knockdown of their roster. They sent Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in July and immediately waived Danilo Gallinari, the one player they got in exchange for Murray (the rest of San Antonio’s return package consisted of future draft picks).

The 26-year-old Poeltl, a shot-blocking seven-footer who is a nightly double-double threat, might be the Spurs’ most valuable asset remaining. But with their seller’s mindset, it would not be very surprising if San Antonio ended up facilitating a potential multi-team trade involving this player.

Spurs could trade another top veteran this offseason?

Gregg Popovich looking on

Apr 10, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich looks on during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After trading away both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in recent months, the San Antonio Spurs may be going for the trifecta.

LJ Ellis of Spurs Talk reports Friday that San Antonio center Jakob Poeltl will likely be traded before the 2022-23 campaign begins. Ellis, a longtime Spurs insider, adds that interest in Poeltl could begin to heat up now that fellow big man Deandre Ayton has returned to the Phoenix Suns.

The 7-foot-1 Poeltl is arguably the best remaining veteran on San Antonio’s roster. He averaged 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds (a team high), and 1.7 blocks per game last season. Poeltl is also on an expiring deal, owed an extremely team-friendly $9.4 million next year. That means teams can target Poeltl as a 2023 cap space play or to gain an advantage in potentially re-signing him (since trading for Poeltl would also net a team his Bird rights).

After going 34-48 this past season and losing in the play-in tournament, San Antonio is shaping up to look a lot different next season. On top of the roster turnover, even longtime Spurs fixtures have been leaving Dodge lately.

Five potential breakout stars of March Madness

Devin Williams

Every March the Big Dance elevates a handful of players from excellent collegiate competitors to household names. Whether it’s the heart-and-soul point guard, the shot-swatting big man, or the clutch three-point marksman, each tournament produces breakout stars. This year will be no different and the field is ripe with players ready to make the jump to superstardom. Here are five players to keep an eye on this month.

Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall

The former Lincoln High Railsplitter is on some kind of tear. In Seton Hall’s last six games, the Pirates have three top-five victories, and Whitehead has been masterful in each contest. During this late-season run, the Pirates’ two-guard is averaging 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and five assists while shooting a blistering 40 percent from downtown. He’s also done a great job defensively for head coach Kevin Willard, locking down opponents’ primary scorers. If Whitehead can cut down on his turnovers, the Pirates may be on a collision course with Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

A.J. English, Iona

Iona’s leading scorer (22.4 ppg) can be a match-up nightmare when his shots are falling from the perimeter. The rangy senior shooting guard hoists over nine treys a game, connecting on 37.4 percent of them. The Gaels drew Iowa State in the first round of the tournament and both English and head coach Tim Cluess must be thrilled that they’re facing the nation’s 248th scoring defense. This will be English’s first NCAA Tournament game, but he’s no stranger to the postseason. English has twice played in the NIT, averaging 24.5 points per contest.

Want further proof he’s ready to light it up on the big stage? Iona faced fellow tournament team Tulsa back in December, and English finished with 31 points and six assists on 4-for-9 shooting from three-point range.

Ben Bentil, Providence

Kris Dunn received plenty of National Player of the Year hype in the preseason, but as it turns out, Dunn wasn’t even the best player on his own team. The sophomore stretch-four ratcheted his game up to a new level this season, averaging nearly 22 points and eight rebounds per game. Bentil’s stats made him a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection. If he can avoid foul trouble — an issue that sidelined him in the Big East semifinals — he has a chance to not only carry the Friars past USC in the first round, but also to throw a scare into the tournament’s top seed (UNC) in the Round of 32.

Jakob Poeltl, Utah

NBA talent evaluators are very familiar with Poeltl’s game and already have him pegged as a potential lottery pick this June. For fans in the rest of the country who choose sleep over Pac-12 basketball, March Madness will likely serve as Poeltl’s coming out party. The seven-foot Austrian import is an efficient scorer who is a handful in the paint. The Naismith Award semifinalist averaged 17.6 points and 9.4 rebounds against ranked opponents this year and enters the tournament shooting 65.6 percent from the floor.

Devin Williams, West Virginia

Both Williams and West Virginia seem to get lost in the Big XII shuffle as Kansas and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield attracted all the headlines this season. Williams played a major role in the Mountaineers accomplishing the rare feat of leading the country in both offensive rebounding and steals per game. Up until this point in his career, Williams was known for his rec-specs and tenacity on the boards, but the junior’s play in the Big XII conference tournament has proven he’s ready to be a star.

Bob Huggins’ starting power forward averaged 19.3 points and 11.3 rebounds, while taking down Oklahoma and pushing Kansas to the brink in the championship game. Williams is the main reason some college basketball experts consider WVU a Final Four sleeper.