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Report: The Spurs are demanding two first round picks for Jakob Poeltl

The Spurs are making it hard to acquire their starting center, with an asking price that very few teams would be willing or able to meet.

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Sacramento Kings v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Jakob Poeltl continues to be the hottest Spurs name on the trade market, but as has already been reported, they are still very high on him and as a result rightfully have a very high asking price for him. According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, that asking price is two first round picks, which is right in line with what they have been asking for their other high-demand players in recent seasons.

Obviously there would be more to such a trade than just draft picks to make the numbers work, but that is still a high asking price for a player who would essentially be a half-season rental since Poeltl is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer. The Spurs were able to get multiple first round picks (or pick swaps) for Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, but they both had multiple years left on their contracts. His contract and the asking price is going to make it very hard for most teams to pull the trigger on a Poeltl trade, especially the two who, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, currently have the most interest in him: the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.

The challenge for the Celtics is obvious: they already gave the Spurs their 2022 first round pick (which turned into Blake Wesley) and the right to swap 2028 picks via the White trade. Giving up four first round picks — let alone to the same team — for two role players is a tough ask, and it’s a lot to pay for a player who would mainly be depth insurance behind Robert Williams and quite possibly wouldn’t re-sign this summer if he isn’t a starter or doesn’t get a pay raise. Unless they truly get desperate, the Celtics may be out of the running for Poeltl.

As for the Raptors, they already have a history with Poeltl since they were the ones who drafted him before he was included in the Kawhi Leonard trade. They would surely love to have him back, but again the challenge lies with the asking price, but for a different reason than the Celtics. The Raptors currently sit in the 11th seed in the East and might be heading towards a rebuild of their own considering their second leading scorer, Fred VanVleet, is reportedly on the trading block. While Poeltl might be enough to help them slip into the play-in, a rebuilding team shouldn’t be giving up two first round picks for a role player, although they might stand a better chance of re-signing him if only because of his history with the club and the likelihood he would remain a starter there.

The bottom line is any team is going to be hard pressed pull the trigger on such a high asking price for a role player on an expiring contract, and that’s what the Spurs are aiming for. They aren’t in any hurry to get rid of Poeltl and are even interested in bringing him back, so their message to other teams is clear: “We are willing to work with you, but you better be ready to pay up.”

The Trade Deadline is on February 9 at 2:00 PM CT.