4 Teams that can land Wembanyama without winning the NBA draft lottery

Victor Wembanyama (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Victor Wembanyama (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images) /
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RJ Barrett, NBA
RJ Barrett (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

NBA Team #2: The New York Knicks

Let’s say the New York Knicks somehow trade for Wembanyama and shake off decades of disappointment. It’s farfetched, at best, but the Knicks do have a surprising number of assets to play with, and they have wisely stocked up on picks, including a one-for-three swap on draft night with the Thunder. That trade was supposed to help them acquire Donovan Mitchell from the Jazz, but the Cleveland Cavaliers swooped in at the last minute.

Now they’re back on the market for a star, and Wembanyama fits the bill. In the meantime, they are trying to build a competent team and are halfway decent, but a tough East means that it’s unlikely that they make the play-in tournament. That could mean a top-10 pick and a good asset in a great draft.

Of course, if they’re trading up in the draft, then the team with the number one pick will need a lot more and the Knicks need to be willing to trade everything that isn’t tied down, including RJ Barrett. Barrett is their best asset, and they just re-signed him to a 4-year, $107 million contract.

Paying Barrett nearly $27 million a year might not be appealing to another rebuilding team right now when they’ll have a cost-controlled superstar in hand, but Barrett can break out and drastically improve his trade value next season. Assuming that he does, then they can offer him up along with several of their 11 future first-round picks to try and win the Wemby sweepstakes.