There has always been one rule in Los Angeles: don't trade Brandon Ingram.
Magic Johnson and the Lakers' brass had us believing for the past two years that B.I. was about as untouchable as any player could get. For a while, that may have been true. The Lakers held back on trading for Paul George, because they knew it meant they'd have to give him up. They resisted acquiring Kawhi Leonard this past summer because the Spurs were adamant in their desire for Brandon Ingram.
About a quarter of the way into the 2018/19 season and something appears to have changed.
In a quote by Tim MacMahon on the Hoop Collective Podcast, it seems the "untradeable" star is apparently not completely untradeable after-all.
"And look, the question is this. Is Brandon Ingram more valuable for the Lakers as LeBron's teammate, or as a trade chip?"
After co-host Brian Windhorst responds, MacMahon drops the bombshell.
"Well I know that they were floating him in at least one trade for... I’ll just go ahead and say it, I heard that he was brought up in the Jimmy Butler stuff."
For whatever reason, Thibs must've either not been too keen on Ingram, or L.A. must've asked for something he wasn't willing to part with. Giving up a star for the young Laker is questionable at best, as the Timberwolves are looking for assets that can help them win now, not young projects that need time to grow.
The bigger dilemma is from the Lakers' side. The dialogue above took place within a context of Ingram's struggle to fit in alongside LeBron. At this point in the season, B.I. has been better with James off the floor. The stats back it up.
Considering Ingram was expected to be taking a leap this year alongside the best player in the world, this can't be what the Lakers had in mind when they put this team together just this past July. Truth is if they want to capitalize on these next few seasons with LeBron James, they'll need an additional star; one who can fit with the style of his play.
It's a hard pill to swallow, but it sounds like something the Lakers have already realized. Whether or not trading Ingram is the way to go, it's an option they've at least considered within the past few weeks or so.