The Indiana Pacers took advantage of the first trade of draft night Thursday and moved back a spot to land Houston forward Jarace Walker while stocking up on draft capital.
The Pacers selected France forward and former Victor Wemabyama teammate Bilal Coulibaly at No. 7. But they were picking for the Washington Wizards. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the trade.
The Pacers sent Coulibaly to Washington in exchange for Walker, whom the Wizards took a pick later at No. 8. The Pacers received Washington’s 2028 second-round draft pick and the Phoenix Suns’ second-round pick in the same draft that the Wizards previously acquired via trade. They also got the player they were targeting in Walker.
Walker, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 46.5% from the field and 34.7% from 3-point distance during his freshman season at Houston. He earned AAC Freshman of the Year honors and second-team All-AAC honors for a Houston team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He’ll join a Pacers roster featuring Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner seeking to break through to the playoffs next season.
Coulibaly is a 6-6 forward with a 7-3 wingspan. He saw his stock rise while helping Metropolitans 92 alongside Wembanyama to the LNB Finals in France’s top pro league. After averaging 5 points and 3.1 rebounds during the regular season, he posted 8.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game during the postseason.