Report: Why Celtics trading for Jakob Poeltl seems unlikely


The Boston Celtics reportedly are looking into adding a big man ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline and have been linked to San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl.

Poeltl would be a solid on-court fit for the Celtics; he's averaging 12.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 blocks per game and would provide excellent frontcourt insurance behind Robert Williams, who has only played in 16 games this season due to injury, and Al Horford, who turns 37 in June and doesn't play on the second night of back-to-backs.

There are a few obstacles the Celtics face in acquiring Poeltl via trade, however, and they might be too big to overcome.

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The Athletic's Jay King cited league sources outside of the Boston organization who "downplayed the likelihood" of the Celtics trading for Poeltl, pointing out that the 27-year-old is on an expiring contract and would make better sense on a team where he's a long-term fit.

"With Horford and Williams each signed through at least the 2024-25 season, Boston likely has no room to commit to Poeltl as a starter on a big, long-term contract," King wrote.

Poeltl is making $9.4 million on the final year of a three-year, $26.3 million contract with San Antonio and has played well enough to expect a raise on his next deal. The Celtics don't exactly have the resources to give Poeltl that raise; they're already over the luxury tax and may need to hand Jaylen Brown (a free agent in 2024) a maximum contract extension next offseason. If they want to lock up Grant Williams after the season, that will further cut into their budget as well.

The Celtics are legitimate championship contenders and should consider trading for anyone who could help put them over the top. But the Spurs' reported asking price for Poeltl -- two first-round picks -- is too steep for Boston to pay for a player the team may not be able to retain long-term.

There are a few other big men who could help the Celtics at a lower cost, from the Minnesota Timberwolves' Naz Reid to the New Orleans Pelicans' Willy Hernangomez. Poeltl might be the most talented big man on the trade market, but he also seems like an unrealistic target unless San Antonio significantly lowers its asking price.

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