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NBA Trade Rumors: Spurs Hope to Keep Jakob Poeltl Despite Center Eyeing $20M Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 22, 2023

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 09: Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on January 09, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
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Jakob Poeltl might be a hot commodity on the NBA trade market, but the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs haven't resigned themselves to losing the veteran center.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Saturday that Poeltl, who's an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, is aiming to earn around $20 million annually on his next contract. Stein added the Spurs have been indicating they're hopeful of re-signing the 7'1" big man.

The Athletic's Jared Weiss reported Wednesday that San Antonio is asking for two first-round picks in a swap. The high price tag speaks to how well Poeltl has performed over the last two years. Since the start of 2021-22, he's averaging 13.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

Based on Stein's report, the Spurs may be trying to strengthen their leverage at the last minute ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Maybe an interested suitor becomes desperate enough to include at least one first-rounder in the deal.

San Antonio may not be bluffing, though.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon reported on his Howdy Partners YouTube show that the Spurs could make an earnest attempt to re-sign Poeltl and absent help facilitate a sign-and-trade if he goes elsewhere in the summer.

In the event Poeltl returns on a long-term deal, it wouldn't preclude San Antonio from moving him ahead of next year's deadline, either.