Recently, the Toronto Raptors resigned Jakob Poeltl to a four-year $80 million deal. At the trade deadline, the Raptors would make a deal with the San Antonio Spurs that would send Poeltl back to the Raptors where he spent the first two seasons of his career. The trade sent Khem Birch, a 2024 first-round pick, and 2023 second-round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick to the Spurs, and in return, the Raptors would receive Poeltl.
Last season with Toronto, the reliable starting center would average 13.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 65.2% from the field. Despite a strong performance from Poeltl in the 26 games he played for the Raptors, it would not be enough for them to make it out of the play-in tournament and into the playoffs.
With the team losing Fred VanFleet to the Houston Rockets in free agency along with shopping other core pieces like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, many believed that they would begin a full-scale rebuild and construct their roster around Scottie Barnes. This made the signing of Poeltl very confusing.
While he is nowhere near beginning to regress by any means, he is set to turn 28 next season. With the Raptors likely having to take a few years to rebuild their roster before they are true contenders again, Poeltl will be out of his prime and potentially not a starting caliber player towards the tail end of his deal.
Despite this, he is a very serviceable starting center for Toronto for the time being, and he will be a very valuable piece to get them through the rebuilding years. If the team ends up holding onto Anunoby and Siakam, there is a chance that they could sneak into the playoffs in the 2023-24 season. If the team plans to continue to attempt to contend and not go into rebuilding mode, this was a very solid signing for the Raptors.
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