Victor Wimbanyama The name alone has NBA fans hopeful – or fearful, depending on your point of view. It’s been a long time since a player has been so widely anticipated. Realistically, LeBron James was the last player to enter the NBA with such fanfare.
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He looks ready to go. Win Banyama has been impressive in this year’s preseason. His long-term projection is one thing – Wambanyama could change basketball. For now, his short-term outlook is encouraging as well. Wimbanyama could be an impact player from day one.
How should the Spurs respond? Should this team maximize their lottery chances next season? Maybe. On the other hand, there are reasons for them to adopt a win-now strategy in order to take a step forward next season. Could they start by acquiring Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers?
Cleveland Cavaliers get Point guard Keldon Johnson, point guard Devonte Graham, 2024 first-round pick (San Antonio Spurs), 2027 first-round pick (Atlanta Spurs via San Antonio Spurs)
San Antonio Spurs receive G Donovan Mitchell
Evan Mobley – He’s not Victor Winebanyama. Who is? That doesn’t mean Mobley can’t change the Cavaliers’ fortunes. In fact, he has already changed it. Last year, Mobley was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore.
In fact, Mobley has a lot of similarities to Win Banyana. You can put Chet Holmgren in the same category, and draft nerds are ready to mention Alexandre Sarr along with him. This is the NBA’s emerging archetype. Long, lean big men with exceptional lateral mobility could take over the league.
Meanwhile, Mobley may have the best mobility of any player. He may be the best defender of the bunch, even if he’s not as good offensively as Wimbanyama. At the end of the day, there is only one Wimbanyama. Does this trade help the Cavaliers build around their franchise player?
Why the Cleveland Cavaliers made this trade
Not really. That’s not Cleveland’s focus. Mitchell’s long-term future with this team is in the spotlight. There are rumors that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with the Cavaliers. Time will tell if there is substance to this rumor.
Let’s assume there is. If so, the Cavaliers should trade Mitchell before he becomes a free agent. In the meantime, they probably shouldn’t adopt a strict rebuilding program. Cleveland still has plenty of talent, and they don’t have enough draft capital to return to the lottery. Any Mitchell trade should bring in players who can help the team stay relevant.
This trade does that. Johnson is a talented wing shooter who also provides some defensive value. However, a pair of unprotected first round picks will also help the Cavaliers. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavaliers utilize these two first round picks to make another big trade next summer. Should the Spurs give up these picks?
Why the San Antonio Spurs should make this trade
Some Spurs fans will resist the urge. They would prefer to see their team slowly rebuild. That’s understandable. If the Spurs make this trade, they will be giving up draft picks like Ron Holland, Matas Bouzelis and Sal.
Here’s the question: what are the chances that any of these players are as impactful as Mitchell? He’s one of the best offensive point guards in the NBA. Additionally, Mitchell is young enough to grow with Winebanyama. If he’s interested in playing alongside the French rookie, the Spurs should consider putting together this stellar duo.
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