By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
ASVEL president Tony Parker has big plans for projected No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama in the upcoming season which will likely be the youngster’s last in Europe before he moves to the NBA.
Parker sees Wembanyama as the player who will be ASVEL’s centerpiece and the man around whom the rest of the roster will be constructed. That’s if the 18-year-old forward/center stays on board since it’s reported that he may opt out of his contract with the French powerhouse.
“We’re waiting for his [Wembanyama] answer and I hope it will be positive,” Parker said per several French media Saturday (25/6), right after ASVEL won its third consecutive French League championship. “We absolutely want to keep him. We want to build everything around him.”
Parker’s ASVEL beat AS Monaco 84 – 82 in overtime of a dramatic Game 5 to win the Finals 3-2. Wembanyama watched the series from the sidelines after being ruled out of the rest of the playoffs due to a muscle injury during the semifinals against JDA Dijon.
Now, Parker, a former four-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, wants to upgrade Wembanyama’s status on the team amid key players leaving for other destinations. ASVEL is losing star guard and Finals MVP Elie Okobo to Monaco while his fellow backcourt killer Chris Jones will also continue his career elsewhere.
“We are going to be looted,” Parker commented. “When you have a good season, it’s clear that you get looted. We are going to lose major players like Elie Okobo and Chris Jones.”
There will likely be many suitors lining up for Wembanyama if he decides to become a free agent. EuroCup newcomer Paris Basketball is already reported to be one of the clubs that have their eyes fixed on the French superprospect and will be ready to offer him a contract if he becomes available.
While Parker promises that Wembanyama will have a much bigger role next season and see more time on the floor to display his otherworldly potential, a EuroCup team like Paris can certainly offer similar guarantees, albeit for a less competitive environment than the EuroLeague.
It will all come down to what Wembanyama and his representatives believe will be best for him ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft.
“Everything will be built around him next season so I hope he will stay,” Parker added.
In 2021-22, Wembanyama averaged 6.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 17:29 minutes in EuroLeague while missing two months with a shoulder injury. He had 9.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.5 minutes in the French League regular season.