Why the ESPN trade for Victor Wembanyama landing in OKC is silly

Victor Wembanyama of Metropolitans 92. (Photo by Christian Liewig - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama of Metropolitans 92. (Photo by Christian Liewig - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a ton of future first-round picks and a war chest of assets, and many think Sam Presti can pull off any more he wants. Victor Wembanyama is one of the NBA’s biggest prizes, which made the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery so exciting. Ultimately, the San Antonio Spurs landed Wembanyama in the Lottery. This led the folks at ESPN (Paywall) to drum up hypothetical trades for the generational big man to see if there is a world where he gets moved. What would it take?

The OKC Thunder have the 12th overall pick entering the 2023 NBA Draft, including the 37th and 50th picks in the second round and four first-round picks in the 2024 draft, and that is just scratching the surface of picks without even touching the young talent already on the Oklahoma City roster.

The ESPN fake trade that lands Victor Wembanyama in Oklahoma City is laughable for both sides.

ESPN posed that the Oklahoma City Thunder send the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, along with the 2024 Houston Rockets first-round pick, the 2025 Philadelphia 76ers first-round pick, and the 2026 L.A. Clippers first-round pick to San Antonio to land Victor Wembanyama in return.

The Spurs are not going to trade Wembanyama. The hype around his name alone is enough to save a franchise before he even steps on the floor and earns the organization money hand over fist. But, if he even reaches the tip of the iceberg of his potential, he will be one of the best players to lace ’em up.

However, for the Oklahoma City Thunder specifically, who are coming off of a surprising 40-win season, have a top-five player in MVP voting (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), Josh Giddey, the runner-up for rookie of the year (Jalen Williams), and a year removed from calling Chet Holmgren one of the best big man unicorn prospects, it just does not make a ton of sense to sell the farm for Victor Wembanyama even in a hypothetical world.

Sure, Victor Wembanyama is going to be great. I by no means am anti-Wembanyama. However, are we sure that the value he brings will be of greater output on the aggregate than what you can get out of Chet Holmgren and three future first-round picks?

The idea that Victor Wembanyama would be far and away better by himself than the value of Holmgren and three future first-round picks from organizations on shaky footing just does not track for me.

You have heard of win-win trades, but this is a hypothetical trade where both sides happily say no.

Next. OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz are perfect Draft Day trade partners. dark