Report: Spurs looking for 2nd lottery pick, with rival execs speculating they might want Victor Wembanyama’s teammate

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

The San Antonio Spurs already have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday but could make an ever larger splash if they fulfill a reported desire to add another lottery pick to what is destined to be an epic night.

The Ringer reported that if the Spurs are able to work a deal for another high pick, they might be looking at Bilal Coulibaly, who is a French teammate of likely top selection Victor Wembanyama. San Antonio also could be trying to land Amen Thompson or his twin brother Ausar.

“There are rumblings that the Spurs are exploring trades for a second lottery pick,” wrote Kevin O’Connor. “I’m not sure how high they are trying to get, but rival executives speculate that they’re targeting one of the Thompson twins or Wembanyama’s own teammate, Bilal Coulibaly.”

Wembanyama is one of the most heralded prospects to enter the NBA in quite some time, perhaps since LeBron James in 2003. If the 19-year-old can enter the league alongside a familiar face in Coulibaly, it could ease the transitions for both youngsters.

Not only are they moving up in competition to the top league in the world, but they also are coming over from Europe and have that adjustment to make as well.

Coulibaly benefitted from the exposure Wembanyama received playing with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 and took advantage to highlight his own game.

One person who has praised Coulibaly is Wembanyama himself, as he called his teammate worthy of a top-five pick.

The Ringer’s most recent mock draft has Coulibaly as the No. 12 pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Coulibaly would be an ideal fit alongside the existing talent on Oklahoma City’s roster,” wrote O’Connor. “The two-way wing is a long-armed defender and a high-IQ player without the ball. On the Thunder, it would be easy to see him shining next to all of their primary playmaking presences.”

That mock draft also has Amen Thompson as the No. 4 pick by the Houston Rockets followed right away by Ausar Thompson at No. 5 by the Detroit Pistons. If one of the twins is the Spurs’ preferred target instead of Coulibaly, San Antonio would likely have to part with a bit more in a trade.

Regardless of what happens Thursday, it will be a historic night for the Spurs, who wound up winning the NBA Draft Lottery after going 22-60 last season.

The five-time NBA champions have been absent from the playoffs since 2019, but the addition of one super prospect and another solid young talent could have them back there sooner rather than later.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.