The New Orleans Pelicans have the third-worst record in the league, and are actively exploring ways to rebuild. Though they’re not expected to make any moves at this point, a recent trade rumor has them looking for Brandon Ingram’s services. The team is due $1 million from his rookie contract if he were traded before February 8th of next year — but that doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy deal.
The “Brandon Ingram trade warriors” is a rumor that has been floating around for some time now. Brandon Ingram is giving the New Orleans Pelicans a gift they can cash in at the trade deadline.
The New Orleans Pelicans are still waiting for the good times to arrive two and a half years after parting ways with franchise cornerstone Anthony Davis. A club that was once built on youthful talents like Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram has yet to produce a winning season. Zion’s future is now in question, while Ball is enjoying success with the Chicago Bulls.
That leaves Ingram, 24, to shoulder the responsibility. And he’s doing it nearly entirely on his own, putting him on the verge of a second All-Star berth. But, in doing so, he’s giving the Pelicans every reason to consider dealing him for a large haul.
Brandon Ingram has established himself as a true superstar for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Since switching from the purple and gold to the navy blue of New Orleans, Ingram’s star power has skyrocketed.
Ingram progressed from a raw rookie to a promising young player in three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. The former second-overall selection didn’t fully realize his potential until his first year with the Pelicans in 2019-20.
In his NOLA debut, the 24-year-old averaged a career-high 23.8 points on 46.3 percent shooting. The next year, he had a similar breakthrough season, averaging 23.8 points on 46.6 percent shooting.
Now that Zion is out and Ball is in Chicago, Ingram is still demonstrating his game-changing powers. The 6-foot-8 big is averaging 23.5 points on 45.2 percent shooting this season. He is now ranked 14th in the NBA, just below Damian Lillard and slightly ahead of former Pelican Davis as of Wednesday.
Ingram’s only blip this season was a seven-game layoff due to a hip injury. After scoring fewer than 20 points in five of his first six games back, the star forward has scored 20 points or more in all but two of his past six games. He’s even led New Orleans to a 4-1 record in its past five games, with a plus-minus rating of +53.
Brandon Ingram should be traded by the Pelicans.
On December 10, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts during a game against the Detroit Pistons at the Smoothie King Center. | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
The Pelicans thought that the pairing of Ingram and Williamson would be a long-term winning formula. However, with each losing season, the likelihood of that combination functioning together decreases.
The Pelicans have improved to 11-21 thanks to Ingram’s heroics. They are still 14th in the Western League, a half-game ahead of the Houston Rockets for bottom place in the conference. New Orleans, on the other hand, has every intention of becoming a playoff club in a top-heavy Western Conference, while teams like the Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are openly rebuilding.
So, what does this mean for Ingram? Slenderman is without a doubt one of the league’s most prolific scorers. However, his efforts haven’t translated into team success, at least not to the extent that the Pels had hoped. While there’s a case to be made for keeping him until Zion returns, the third-year forward is limited by injuries as well as overall dissatisfaction with the club. In other words, New Orleans can’t use the possibility of Zion’s return to explain whether or not to keep Ingram.
Trading Ingram may be the only option for the Pelicans to regroup and try things again in a few years, given their position towards the bottom of the league and no genuine signs of optimism.
Ingram would be worth a lot of money in any exchange.
Brandon Ingram’s last 13 games stats:
48.6 FG percent 32.3 3PT percent 79.1 FT percent 25.5 ppg 6 rpg 5.4 apg
December 22, 2021 — Will Guillory (@WillGuillory)
One of basketball’s top 15 scorers. With a long build, he is a powerful point forward. He is 24 years old and has a contract that runs through 2025. These are some of the reasons why the Pelicans should keep Ingram, depending on who you ask. They do, however, make a compelling argument for why New Orleans should sell its young superstar for a hefty price.
For Davis, the Pelicans got Ingram, Ball, Josh Hart, three first-round selections, and cash. Keep in mind that AD was a huge celebrity. He was, however, a 26-year-old disgruntled employee with just one year remaining on his contract. It’s not out of the question that if New Orleans gets rid of B.I., it’ll get a comparable package.
A club like the Golden State Warriors, for example, might be a serious contender for the prized player. To make the money work in a hypothetical transaction, New Orleans may pair Ingram with a veteran like Tomas Satoransky. It would acquire second-year center James Wiseman, youngster Jonathan Kuminga, experienced scorer Andrew Wiggins, and a variety of draft selections in return. The Warriors would then have a true All-Star to help them win a championship, while the Pelicans would have access to potential young players and draft selections to speed up their reconstruction.
It’s preferable to be horrible in the NBA than mediocre. When everyone is healthy, the Pels are middling at best, indicating that another rebuild is in needed. If that’s the case, dealing Brandon Ingram is the most efficient and effective approach to get things going.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics, while Spotrac provided contract data.
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Brandon Ingram is giving the New Orleans Pelicans a gift they can cash in at the trade deadline. The Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling since losing LeBron James, and Ingram has been one of their few bright spots. Reference: pelicans nba.
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