Jakob Pöltl returns to his roots and joins the Toronto Raptors!
The Canadians traded the Viennese back from the San Antonio Spurs and gave up a first-round pick, two second-round picks and Khem Birch to Texas.
ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on the swap deal.
2016 drafted by Toronto
For Pöltl it is a return to the Canadian metropolis, where he felt very comfortable. After all, he spent the first two years of his NBA career in Toronto after the Raptors drafted him with the ninth pick in 2016.
In 2018, Pöltl joined the San Antonio Spurs in a mega deal with DeMar DeRozan for superstar Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
The Viennese is in good form this season with an average of 12.1 points and 9.1 rebounds and was one of the top performers for the Spurs.
Battle for the playoffs
He should also become one with the Raptors, which he left as a youngster and to which he will return as a seasoned NBA center in his prime.
In terms of sport, the 27-year-old ends up in a better situation than he found at Spurs (14-41).
Toronto (26-30) has not had a convincing season so far but is in the middle of a playoff battle in the Eastern Conference.
The last three games could be won, on Thursday night also against the Spurs with Pöltl still in the jersey of the Texans.
The Raptors’ star player is Pascal Siakam, who, like Pöltl in 2016, was drafted in the first round and with whom the Viennese is a close friend. However, there are various trade rumors about the 28-year-old.
Siakam is Toronto’s top scorer with an average of 24.7 points and also leads the Raptors with 7.9 rebounds. In this category in particular, Pöltl should represent a massive upgrade.
Austria’s NBA export still knows some pillars like Fred VanVleet or OG Anunoby from his first job with the Raptors, others need to be reacquainted – such as young star Scottie Barnes, who is in his second year in the league.
The head coach is Nick Nurse, who was already the Canadians’ assistant coach in Pöltl’s time. In 2018, the 55-year-old became head coach and led the Raptors to the NBA title in his first season.
How’s the summer going?
So it is clear where Pöltl will spend the rest of the season. It will be exciting in the summer when his current contract expires.
As a free agent, the Viennese can then freely choose his new employer, although it can be assumed that Toronto is not wrong to have high hopes that the center will remain.
Pöltl always felt comfortable in Toronto, and the Raptors would probably not have given up such draft capital if they thought they had no chance in the fight for Pöltl’s signature.
Currently earning $9.4 million. US media are speculating that his new contract could be worth around $20 million per season.
The Raptors bring back the center they drafted, developed and traded for Kawhi Leonard with an intention of signing him to a new contract this summer, sources tell ESPN. Toronto’s been desperate for a center and they’ve landed him in Poeltl now. https://t.co/AUmGfKqWu9
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023