The San Antonio Spurs have traded center Jakob Poeltl to the Toronto Raptors for big man Khem Birch, a protected first-round pick, and two second-round picks. Speculation that the Raptors would begin a rebuild and look to move several key players now seems to be untrue with the move for the Spurs center. Poeltl was a popular name ahead of the 2022-23 NBA Trade Deadline and now he is headed back to the team that drafted him. Toronto finally has their answer at center, while the Spurs may not be done ahead of the deadline.
The Toronto Raptors are acquiring San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl for Khem Birch, a protected 2024 first-round draft pick and two future second-round picks, sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/9Iz7KFCd20
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
This season with the San Antonio Spurs, Jakob Poeltl averaged 12.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. He paired those numbers with a field goal percentage of 62.3 percent and a free throw percentage of 59.2 percent. This season in 20 games and 8.1 minutes per game with the Toronto Raptors, Khem Birch averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. He paired those numbers with a field goal percentage of 59.4 percent and a three-point percentage of 50 percent.
It is unclear if the Spurs plan to keep Khem Birch on the roster or negotiate a buyout with him after the deadline. The rebuilding team adds more draft capital to pair with their young and talented prospects. The Raptors add Jakob Poeltl in the hopes it elevates them in the Eastern Conference Playoff race. Both teams could continue to be active ahead of the deadline.