Star prospect Victor Wembanyama is likely to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft this summer, but a Western Conference contender reportedly recently met with his camp.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reports that Wembanyama's representatives spoke to the New Orleans Pelicans, who are third in the West.
"The Pelicans had personnel in France," Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast (h/t AHN Fire Digital's Peter Dewey). "They spent some time talking to Victor's people. In fact, Victor's people—I don't know how often the Pelicans have been there, but they sought it out."
At 26-17, it would take a substantial collapse in the second half of the season for the Pelicans to qualify for the No. 1 pick. New Orleans also has the right to swap picks with the Los Angeles Lakers (19-23), but they are chasing a spot in the postseason and would need some massive misfortune to finish near the top of the draft lottery.
The Pelicans have a strong core led by Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum. However, Williamson and Ingram have struggled to stay healthy this year amid hamstring and toe injuries, respectively, which might explain New Orleans' early engagement with Wembanyama. Perhaps they're performing due diligence should the Lakers fall further and the pingpong balls bounce the right way.
At 7'4" with shooting guard skills, Wembanyama is a generational prospect who could be a franchise cornerstone for years. While the city of New Orleans might be an ideal fit for the 19-year-old Frenchman, Windhorst noted he doesn't have a preference as to where he lands.
"Victor has made it very clear, on the record as well, that there is no wrong team for him," Windhorst stated. "He is not–I think his exact quote was, 'There is no wrong team.' He is absolutely presenting the front that no matter where it is, he feels like he's going to be a good fit there."