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Rumor: Raptors interested in bringing back familiar face involved in Kawhi Leonard trade

Raptors, Kawhi Leonard, Kawhi Leonard trade, Jakob Poeltl

It’s been four years since the Toronto Raptors announced the huge Kawhi Leonard trade with the San Antonio Spurs that shook the landscape of the league and ultimately resulted in an NBA championship for Toronto. Leonard is in Los Angeles now, but the Raptors’ recent actions are indirectly bringing them back to the former star. According to a recent rumor, the Raptors are interested in bringing back a familiar face from the Leonard trade, per NBA reporter Marc Stein.

Interesting reunion scenario that has begun to circulate: Although it faces luxury-tax constraints that limit its ability to make moves, at less than $300,000 below the tax line, Toronto is said to have interest in reacquiring center Jakob Poeltl from San Antonio. The Raptors’ recent 11-4 surge propelled them into Eastern Conference playoff contention, and they have been looking for center upgrades for some time.

The Raptors, who are in the market for a center, are rumored to be interested in Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, who was a key piece in the Kawhi Leonard trade. Poeltl, 26, was drafted by Toronto with the ninth pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

The Austrian center was then sent by the Raptors to the Spurs along with DeMar DeRozan and a 2019 first-round pick in exchange for Leonard and Danny Green. Poeltl is now rumored to be drawing the interest of the cash-strapped Raptors, who seem to want to reacquire him.

The Raptors do lack a true center, as they have been rolling out lineups with forward Chris Boucher at the five. Poeltl, who is averaging 12.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, would give Toronto some much-needed size in the frontcourt.

The Raptors salary cap situation will make a deal difficult, though they interestingly appear to be turning back to the Kawhi Leonard trade for frontcourt help with their rumored interest in Jakob Poeltl.