Report: Spurs rejected Bulls offer for Jakob Poeltl


The Chicago Bulls are reportedly eyeing frontcourt reinforcements ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

According to Marc Stein, in fact, the team has extended a trade offer to the Spurs in an attempt to acquire Jakob Poeltl. While the specifics are unknown, Stein reports the Bulls' offer was "centered around a future first-round pick," but was "rebuffed" by San Antonio. Poeltl, Stein reports, is "among the most coveted centers in the league."

San Antonio seeking more for their 26-year-old big man — Stein has reported in the past they envision a package built around a first-round and quality young player — shouldn't surprise. Poeltl is young, in the second year of a three-year $26.3 million contract and already one of the best rim protectors in the league.

In this, the best season of his six-year career, Poeltl is averaging 13.3 points, nine rebounds, 1.7 blocks and shooting 61.4 percent. He rates, according to Cleaning the Glass, as an 89th percentile offensive rebounder, 48th percentile defensive rebounder and 86th percentile shot-blocker.

The Bulls, meanwhile are the second-worst offensive rebounding team in the NBA, see their defensive rebounding rate crater from 76 percent (which would rank first in the league) with Nikola Vučević on the court to 69.7 percent (which would rank last) when he sits, and own the league's 26th-rated defense since Jan. 1.

So it's easy to see how Poeltl would bolster a Bulls center rotation that, as of now, Vučević dominates, with Tony Bradley and two-way player Tyler Cook taking turns flirting with rotation roles behind him.

The Bulls, in fact, got a firsthand look at Poeltl's multi-faceted game when he posted 21 points (9-for-12 shooting), 11 rebounds (six offensive), four assists and a block against them on Jan. 28:

Poeltl makes a manageable $8.8 million this season, per Spotrac, which means the Bulls could match his salary with Derrick Jones Jr., a package built around Coby White and Troy Brown Jr., or a package built around either White or Brown Jr. plus one of their lower-salaried players (Bradley, Matt Thomas, Marko Simonović).

As for draft capital: The 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick (which carries that same protection through 2028 before converting to a second-rounder) acquired from the Trail Blazers in August's Lauri Markkanen sign-and-trade is, functionally speaking, about the only first-rounder the Bulls can offer.

For now, it appears talks between the Bulls and Spurs are far from bearing fruit, but anything can happen. With the deadline fast-approaching, stay tuned.

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