San Antonio’s center is one of the top pieces on the trade market.

Spurs center Jakob Poeltl in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Associated Press

The Celtics are interested in acquiring Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, according to The Athletic.

Anonymous sources tell the Athletic’s Shams Charania that Poeltl has drawn “significant trade interest” from Boston and Toronto, among other teams. The 27-year-old center is one of the top prizes on the trade market, averaging 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists a game for a San Antonio team that currently holds the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 13-31.

Poeltl initially joined the Spurs in the 2018 Kawhi Leonard deal with the Raptors and has received increased playing time each year since. He has started in all but one of his 103 games played over the last two seasons. 

Poeltl is one of the steadiest interior presences in the NBA on both ends of the court. He holds a career field goal percentage of 63 percent and averages 1.3 blocks per game for his career.

As the Spurs continue to look toward the future, moving Poeltl is the clear next step for the franchise, especially since his $9 million contract expires at the end of the season.

For the Celtics, a potential move means reinforcing a front court that features an injury prone Rob Williams and a 36-year-old Al Horford. Both Horford and Williams are crucial to the team’s success but if the team has visions of another Finals run, they’ll need insurance.

Horford has played in 35 of 45 games so far this season and Williams is still recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first 29 games of the season.

Poeltl on the other hand has had relatively good health over the course of his career, playing in 66 games or more each of the last five seasons. 

If acquired, he’s unlikely to bounce Williams or Horford from the starting lineup and would rather serve as a steady backup off the bench ahead of Luke Kornet.

In terms of how Boston can acquire Poeltl, it appears that they’ll have to compete with Toronto, who also have their eye on him, according to the report.

The Celtics would probably assemble a similar package to the one they offered for Derrick White last season, matching salaries with a few younger players like Payton Pritchard and Justin Jackson and sending over a package of lesser draft picks. Boston is without their first-round pick for this year but does have three second-round picks that can be used in any potential deal.


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