BREAKING NEWS : Blockbuster Trade Pitch Reunites Lakers With $158 Million Star From West Foe

The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to acquire a free agent, but there are still a few high-profile trade targets available, one of which is Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans. It would be highly ironic to deal Ingram to the Pelicans as a third star behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, given that Los Angeles selected Ingram with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft and then traded him to them in July 2019 as part of the deal that netted Davis.Ingram became an All-Star in his first campaign in New Orleans and has blossomed into a perennial

Update: Pelicans clear Brandon Ingram for 'individual on-court workouts' | WGNO.com
20-points per game scorer, averaging between 20.8-24.7 points in each of the previous five seasons, all with the Pelicans. He is entering the final year of a $158 million contract and looking for a maximum extension of $208 million over four seasons.Jacob Rude of SB Nation noted on Tuesday, July 9, that New Orleans is more than a little hesitant to pay Ingram that much considering all the big contracts already on its books for Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum and Dejounte Murray, as well as those the franchise will need to pay down the line. As such, Ingram is on the trade block and the type of player who could help L.A.

“The Lakers have the draft picks needed, whether to trade or swap, and are familiar with working out big deals with the Pelicans’ front office. The Lakers would either need to involve a third team to find a center or hope the Pelicans start feeling a little more desperate,” Rude wrote. “While LeBron ended the free agency flexibility — something the market also ended as well — there are still trade options available.” “And one very interesting name could be old friend Brandon Ingram.”Pelicans Unlikely to Desire D’Angelo Russell in Trade With Lakers, Complicating PotentialD'Angelo Russell - Los Angeles Lakers Point Guard - ESPN Deal However, the Lakers do not possess what the Pelicans want and need the most out of an Ingram trade — a viable starting center — which renders the deal a long shot. What Los Angeles does have are two first-round picks in 2029 and 2031, as well as a handful of pick swaps in between those seasons that could — and probably should — interest New Orleans. A third team will likely prove necessary, however, because D’Angelo Russell is the salary piece the Lakers most likely can afford, and want, to unload to make the money work on an Ingram deal.

Russell will earn closely $9 million in 2024-25, while Ingram will make north of $36 million. Due to league rules, the Lakers must include more salary than that to trade for Ingram, so they would need to include more player assets in any agreement, though Russell would remain the centerpiece.

Who that team might be, what it might want in return and how the Lakers and Pelicans might make that all happen is where the details get complicated and several potential, yet extremely murky, options abound. However, the fact that Russell opted into the final year of his expiring contract indicates there was little to no market for him around the league at his desired price, which narrows the list of candidates to those franchises willing to take on bad salary this season in order to free up cap space for 2024

Not because Ingram isn’t a skilled player. But he had a dismal series in which he scored just 14.3 points per game on 34.5% shooting against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a first-round playoff sweep, which hurt his standing going into the summer.

In addition, he battled a bone bruise to his knee in March, the most recent in a lengthy history of health issues that cost him multiple games over the stretch run. In the past seven years, Ingram has only appeared in more than 60 games three times, and only once, during his rookie season in 2016–17, has he played in more than 64 games.

According to William Guillroy of The Athletic, “Ingram getting traded felt like a forgone conclusion once free agency began” on July 8.

But most of the potential suitors soured after striking their own deals, Guillroy continued. The “two most obvious trade partners” that are still in the running are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic, he continued. However, the Cavs are not thrilled about trading center Jarrett Allen for Ingram, and the Magic’s Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero are not the best combinations for Ingram.

“The Pelicans would have to find some middle ground with their forward on an extension without an Ingram trade,” Guillroy wrote.

That might happen, but it could also happen that the Pelicans decide to part with Ingram in exchange for future draft picks and take a chance on an unheralded center as a stopgap before finding a long-term solution. If Ingram were genuinely motivated in the latter scenario, the Lakers would have a legitimate shot at landing him.

 

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