NBA Trades: Pass or pursue on 5 rumored Raptors targets

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NBA Trades: Pass or pursue on 5 rumored Raptors targets

Jan 19, 2022; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) shoots in the first half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AT&T Center, NBA Trades: Pass or pursue on 5 rumored Raptors targets. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2022 deadline on the horizon, everyone has hypothetical NBA trades on their mind right now as teams across the league will look to improve their rosters. One team that will be particularly interesting to monitor is the Toronto Raptors.

After a slow start to the season, Toronto has fought their way back into the playoff picture, as they currently sit just 4.5 games back of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. As they look to bolster their postseason chances, they would be wise to bring in reinforcements before the February 10 deadline.

If the Raptors are active in the trade market, all signs point to them adding another center to bulk up their frontcourt. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, Toronto has shown interest in five different centers recently, meaning a deal could get done in the coming days.

With all that being said, let us assess the rumored targets and decide whether the Raptor should pass on or pursue them in any NBA trades.

NBA Trades: Pass or pursue on 5 rumored Raptors targets – Jakob Poeltl

Scotto notes that the Raptors are reportedly pursuing a reunion with Jakob Poeltl before the trade deadline this week. After spending his first two NBA seasons in Toronto, Poeltl was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in the blockbuster move for Kawhi Leonard, and perhaps that familiarity makes him a desirable trade target for the Raptors due to their center predicament.

Toronto’s interest in Poeltl is justifiable, given that the big man is currently having a career year in San Antonio. Poeltl is averaging 13.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, blowing his previous career bests out of the water.

While it is not a career-high, the 26-year-old is averaging 1.7 blocks per contest as well. The scoring, rebounding, and interior defense that Poeltl provides is just what the Raptors are looking for, and he would immediately make them more formidable.

Given Poeltl’s career-best production this year, it will not be easy to pry him away from the Spurs. As reported by long-time NBA Insider Marc Stein (subscription required), San Antonio is asking for a first-round pick and a quality player in exchange for Poeltl.

The Raptors have the assets to get a deal done with that asking price, so they should definitely pursue the big man. On the books for just under $8.8 million this season and $9.4 million next year, Poeltl is an affordable target that would help the Raptors mightily.

The Verdict: Pursue

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