NBA Draft 2022 Rumors: Chet Holmgren Wants to Be Selected by Thunder, Not Magic

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 17, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 17: Chet Holmgren #34 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs dunks the ball against the Georgia State Panthers during the first half in the first round game of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 17, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Chet Holmgren remains in contention to be the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NBA draft for the Orlando Magic, but he and his agent, Bill Duffy, reportedly would prefer to go No. 2 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ryen Russilo provided the latest intel on his podcast (h/t Cody Taylor of The Rookie Wire):

"I've been told this is where Duffy and Chet want to go. They want to go to Oklahoma City because … [of] the opportunities and he has way more freedom because of the roster in front of him than maybe he would in Orlando. … That’s the preference that I’ve heard, and it makes a lot of sense from a basketball standpoint of being brought along but also getting more opportunities."

Holmgren still reportedly met with the Magic front office on Wednesday and Thursday last week, according to Taylor.

Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Holmgren are considered the top three prospects in the class and will likely land among the Magic, Thunder or the Houston Rockets at No. 3, barring a trade.

Holmgren remains an intriguing prospect because of his versatility at 7'0". The center was a star defensively for Gonzaga, averaging 3.7 blocks and 9.9 rebounds per game, but his offensive game is also exciting with 14.1 points per game and a 39.0 three-point percentage.

The two-way ability would be a huge boost for the Thunder, which finished 24-58 last season and are still developing their core for a rebuild.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a clear go-to option and Josh Giddey showed potential last year, but there are few long-term commitments on the roster and no proven options in the frontcourt. Holmgren could easily step into the lineup and see a massive role in his first season in Oklahoma City.

The role wouldn't be as clear with Orlando, with center Wendell Carter Jr. and forward Jonathan Isaac both under contract for at least three more years (though Isaac's contract is only partially guaranteed).

There are also several ball-dominant guards on the roster in Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Markelle Fultz. Adding Franz Wagner, there could be limited touches to go around.

While any No. 1 pick would certainly get playing time, the path to stardom might be more difficult in Orlando.