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The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to trade center Jakob Poeltl to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Khem Birch, a 2024 first-round pick and two future second-round picks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Details regarding any protections on the first-round pick are forthcoming. 

Poeltl was putting together a strong season in San Antonio on the rebuilding Spurs and was one of the most-discussed players heading into the deadline. A number of teams were reportedly interested, but none more so than the Raptors, who included a first-round pick to get the deal done. Poeltl spent the first two seasons of his career with the Raptors before he was sent to the Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard trade. 

In 45 games as a starter for the Spurs this season, Poeltl averaged 12.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, while shooting 62.3 percent from the field. He has once again struggled from the free throw line, making just 59.2 percent of his attempts -- a potential liability come playoff time if the Raptors can sneak in via the play-in tournament. 

Of course, that may not even be a concern for this season depending on what path the Raptors take ahead of the deadline. There have been rumors about all three of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby potentially being moved, and there are valid reasons for Masai Ujiri and Co. to go for a rebuild. Giving up a first-round pick for Poeltl seems to suggest that they will not be full-scale sellers, but things can change quickly if other teams get desperate and increase their offers for one of the Raptors' best players. 

Regardless, the most important aspect of this trade from an on-court perspective is that the undersized Raptors finally got a reliable big man who will give them a much-neede presence in the paint. The Raptors' medium-ball experiment of playing primarily 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-9 wings was interesting, but was simply not working this season. They are in the middle of the pack in many major defensive categories, including defensive rating (17th), defensive rebounding percentage (16th) and opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (18th); Poeltl should help them clean some of that up and give them a legitimate option against dominant big men such as Joel Embiid

As for the Spurs, they were likely not going to re-sign Poeltl in the summer, so it's no surprise they finally moved on. He's a nice player, but he doesn't move the needle in a rebuild, and a bunch of extra draft picks are more valuable to them as they continue to look to the future.