Don’t get too attached to the idea of the Boston Celtics acquiring the highest-profile big man on the market — The Athletic’s Jay King (subscription required) has reported that league sources are “downplayed the likelihood” Jakob Poeltl ends up on the Cs.
Poeltl pursuers include Boston and the Toronto Raptors, though it’s all but a certainty more teams will get into the mix. The Golden State Warriors could get into the mix if the San Antonio Spurs were to take an interest in benched big James Wiseman.
The Celtics may try to fill their big man void with a lower-profile splash on the trade market or through the buyout market. San Antonio’s demand for multiple first-round picks will ultimately be the deterrent that keeps Boston’s front office out of play for Poeltl.
The smaller splash that could pay bigger dividends for the Boston Celtics
What the Boston Celtics need in their frontcourt rotation is someone who is going to come in and parlay a high motor into more defensive tenacity and rebounding when the second unit is on the floor. Luke Kornet’s lack of lateral quickness and Blake Griffin’s decreased athleticism at 33 created that need, and Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid could be a cheaper alternative to Jakob Poeltl.
Reid is four years younger than Poeltl and has less than half of the career mileage the Austrian does. With the trade price unlikely to break the bank — possibly only needing to include Payton Pritchard — a pursuit for Reid is almost certainly in the cards.
Landing either Reid or Poeltl could have an adverse effect on Grant Williams’ likelihood to re-up in Boston unless both would be a mere rental, but the chips need to be all in right now considering their open championship window. Brad Stevens needs to win Banner 18 and worry about the financial ramifications later.