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Raptors reportedly reacquiring Jakob Poeltl from Spurs

Feb 6, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) brings the ball up court against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are reacquiring center Jakob Poeltl from the San Antonio Spurs, ESPN and The Athletic reported early Thursday morning.

For Poeltl, who was among the players Toronto dealt to San Antonio to pick up Kawhi Leonard in July 2018, the Spurs will receive center Khem Birch, a protected 2024 first-round draft pick and two second-round picks, per the reports.

The Raptors (26-30) are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, which would leave them in the conference’s play-in tournament to vie for a playoff berth. They are 4 1/2 games behind the Miami Heat for sixth place and an assured playoff spot, but the Washington Wizards trail Toronto by just percentage points for 10th.

Poeltl, 27, is averaging 12 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 blocks in 26.1 minutes per game this season. He is shooting 61.6 percent from the field. He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Spurs’ 112-98 loss to the host Raptors on Wednesday night.

In his seven-year career, the past five with the Spurs after the Raptors took him with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft, he is averaging 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in just under 21 minutes per game. He has been a starter in 210 of the 462 games in which he has played.

Birch, 30, is in his sixth NBA season, his third with Toronto. After he was waived by the Orlando Magic in April 2021, he joined the Raptors days later to finish that season, and then signed a multiyear contract with them four months later.

In 20 games this season, all coming off the bench, he is averaging 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in just over eight minutes per game. His most productive stretch came as he closed out the 2020-21 season with the Raptors. In 19 games, 17 as a starter, he averaged 11.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.

At 14-41, the Spurs are one game out of last place in the Western Conference.

–Field Level Media

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