Several months ago, the Los Angeles Lakers refused to include Kyle Kuzma in the trade package for Anthony Davis. Instead, they sent away Brandon Ingram, a former 2nd overall pick.
Despite his youth and raw potential, the Lakers just didn’t want to wait for him anymore to step up as a star, and with LeBron James already about to turn 35, they were in win-now mode.
Needless to say, Ingram has embraced his chance to prove his worth at the fullest during his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans, posting averages of 25.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.3 three-pointers on 47/39/85 shooting splits.
So, now that he’s heading towards restricted free agency, the Pelicans are going to have a bit of a situation in hand, as they’re definitely going to have to match a huge bid for his services.
Ingram is just 22 years old and is years away from reaching the surface of his potential.
Thus, several NBA executives believe he’s going to get multiple max-contract offers this upcoming summer, according to The Athletic’s Zach Harper:
“The team is high on Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker moving forward. It also doesn’t have a ton of cap flexibility with the expected restricted free agency offer sheets coming Ingram’s way. League sources are expecting his play this year to earn him max money in offer sheets this summer,” Harper reported.
The Duke product is one of the frontrunners to win the Most Improved Player award and is finally showing those glimpses of greatness we were all waiting years ago.
With his freakish athleticism, solid defensive instincts, huge wingspan, and a newfound sweet shooting stroke, plus his determination to take control of the game in clutch situations, Ingram looks like an All-Star this season.
Obviously, matching any offer he gets is a no-brainer for David Griffin and the Pelicans, who already have Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker locked in for the foreseeable future.
New Orleans has put together one of the most promising young cores we’ve seen in ages, and Ingram is playing a huge part in that. Moreover, the Lakers must be regretting their choice to keep Kuzma and give away Ingram to get Davis.