The 2022-23 NBA season is officially halfway there, so the clock is ticking for teams to make moves. With the February 9 trade deadline almost here, rebuilding organizations like the San Antonio Spurs could be active in the market by getting rid of some veterans. One player who has to be in many trading rumors is Jacob Boltel.
The center averages 12.3 points, a career high of 9.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. He also blocks 1.2 shots per night, the best mark on the team. He shoots 63.2% from the field and 58.7% from the free throw line, the latter his best since joining Tottenham in the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan deal in 2018.
While he’s part of the worst scoring defense in the league, which gives 121.7 points per game, Poeltl could bring some value to potential competitors.
With that being said, here are the top three destinations for San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl ahead of the trade deadline.
At 33-12, the Boston Celtics have one of the best records in the NBA. The team will likely clinch a playoff spot soon and be in contention for another NBA Finals appearance. However, if there’s one thing that affected Boston in the 2022 Finals, it’s depth.
The Celtics often only used seven or eight players against the Golden State Warriors, which may have been a problem. Injuries have made things more difficult for Boston, and it continues to be an issue. This season, Robert Williams has played only 13 matches.
The addition of Poeltl will be an insurance policy for the Celtics in case Williams isn’t quite ready for the playoffs. The Austrian would be the only traditional protector on the list, who could come in handy against Miami’s Bam Adebayo or Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, for example.
Jakob Poeltl on an expired deal, nets $9.4 million. The Celtics could use some trade exceptions to accommodate his contract. Since they should be playoff contenders for years to come, a late first round selection could be an asset in the trade.
Golden State Warriors
On the other side of the 2022 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors are having a disappointing season so far. They are just 22-22 and currently No. 7 in the Western Conference standings, under teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings.
The main problem the Warriors face is on the defensive end. The team is in the bottom five in the league awarding 117.9 points per competition. For comparison, Golden State had the third-best defense in the 2021-22 season, with 105.5 points.
Additionally, the Warriors are in the bottom half in both offensive rebounds for and against. 3.8 blocks per game is also in the bottom five.
A player like Poeltl can help warriors in those areas. Given his limitations on offense, he won’t take many picks away from Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. The big man can play a role similar to that of Kevon Looney but with more mass and aggression on both sides of the ball.
Golden State could offer some protected first-round picks or a player like James Wiseman, which will follow the Spurs’ rebuilding phase. Wiseman has been dealing with injuries and has yet to live up to the second hype. San Antonio could improve it over time while Golden State remains competitive.
Another franchise that was hoping to compete for bigger things in 2022-23 was the Chicago Bulls. Unfortunately for them, things were far from perfect. They are only between the ages of 20 and 24 and are currently in last place in the Play-In Championship.
Something that could help the bulls is the addition of a real position. Nikola Vučević is more of a ground stretcher than an edge guard. Andre Drummond can do what Boltle does to an extent, however, his role has decreased significantly in the past two seasons.
Chicago ranks 10th in rebounds per game and 28th in offensive rebounds. Jakob Poeltl can share the court with Vučević, allowing the two-time All-Star to settle for three-pointers while staying close to the basket for second-chance baskets. Also, Poeltl will make up for the defensive issues of the team’s key players in Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Teams often avoid getting to the basket because they will face the Austrian there. After that, they will need to use 3 pointers or long mid range shots.
Since Poeltl is on an expired contract, it won’t hurt the Bulls’ paybooks for upcoming seasons. With so many rumors surrounding the organization about whether it will start rebuilding, the big guy could give the Bulls one last breath in the vie for bigger things. If it doesn’t work out, the front office can trade its stars in the off-season without jeopardizing the salary cap.