Lakers Linked to Potential Trade for $38 Million Versatile 7-Footer

Jakob Poeltl guards Jusuf Nurkic

Getty Jakob Poeltl guards Jusuf Nurkic

The Los Angeles Lakers could trade for a $38 million versatile big man.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report reported on January 27 that the Lakers have been linked to a potential trade for San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl. The 27-year-old, who was acquired by the Spurs from the Toronto Raptors in the blockbuster Kawhi Leonard trade back in 2018, is making $9.4 million this season. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“The San Antonio Spurs like Jakob Poeltl and would be happy to extend him, but existing rules limit him to $50.5 million over four additional seasons. Several NBA sources peg his asking price in the $17 million to $20 million range in the first year alone as an unrestricted free agent. While the Spurs can pay that, the team will have to wait until July to do so. And that may be beyond their price range, which could inspire the team to get a deal done before the trade deadline. The asking price is believed to be a first-round pick and a good young player,” Pincus wrote. “Teams linked to Poeltl include the Boston Celtics, Raptors, Lakers, Clippers and Warriors.”

Poeltl is averaging 11.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists this season while shooting 62.0% from the field and 59.0% from the free-throw line. He has nine double-doubles and a player efficiency rating of 20.1.

Proposed Trade Lands Lakers Josh Richardson, Doug McDermott & Jakob Poeltl

Under CBA rules, the Lakers can trade Russell Westbrook and future draft picks to the Spurs for Poeltl, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz wrote about this trade in October.

“Swapping Westbrook for players like McDermott and Richardson would give Los Angeles a pair of shot-making wings, with both instantly becoming the best on the roster,” Swartz wrote. “Poeltl is an upgrade over Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones as well and keeps Anthony Davis from starting at center. The Lakers would save $11.7 million with this trade overall, dropping them to just $5.7 million over the tax. Moving off all three veterans would do wonders for the Spurs’ tanking efforts and actually clear $13.8 million of cap space next summer thanks to Westbrook’s expiring deal. San Antonio picks up a future unprotected first from the Lakers and a pair of seconds to complete the deal.”

The Lakers are interested in trading for Richardson, McDermott and Poeltl, league sources told Heavy Sports. If Los Angeles makes this trade, head coach Darvin Ham can start Dennis Schroder, Richardson, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James and Anthony Davis and bring McDermott, Poeltl, Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves, Thomas Bryant and Patrick Beverley off the bench.

NBA Insider Thinks the Lakers Will Make Another Trade

The Lakers have already made one trade this season, acquiring Hachimura from the Washington Wizards for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks. However, vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka may make another move.

Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes said on Episode 1 of “#thisleague UNCUT” with Marc Stein that he thinks Pelinka will make one or two more trades.

The Lakers are in 13th place in the Western Conference standings. However, they are just three games back of the sixth spot. The NBA trade deadline is February 9.

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