As expected, 23-year-old All-Star forward and restricted free agent Brandon Ingram will re-sign with the New Orleans Pelicans for five years and $158 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Pelicans acquired Ingram in the deal that sent Anthony Davis to the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in July 2019. The 6-foot-7, 190-pound swingman averaged 23.8 points (on uber-efficient 46/39/85 shooting splits), 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 33.9 minutes per game in his first season with New Orleans. Along with Zion Williamson, Ingram is a foundational piece of one of the league’s best-positioned young teams.
In addition to taking his scoring and playmaking to another level this past season, Ingram also made strides as an effective and versatile long-armed defender, earning his first All-Star bid and capturing the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Despite injuries to Williamson, the Pelicans earned an invitation to the bubble on the strength of Ingram’s breakout season before falling out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
New Orleans made a blockbuster trade this offseason, sending 30-year-old former All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks in a deal that returned Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams and a cache of first-round picks. With rising stars Williamson and Ingram at the helm of a roster that also features veteran guard J.J. Redick, recent No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball, 20-year-old center Jaxson Hayes and young wings Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, among others, the Pelicans should compete for a playoff spot once again.
Ingram can play either forward spot and switch across multiple positions defensively. New Orleans played limited minutes with him at the four and Williamson at center in small-ball lineups, but in a significant sample size, lineups with Ingram at Williamson at the forward spots outscored opponents by 11.2 points per 100 possessions, according to Cleaning the Glass. As the two budding stars get more comfortable playing with each other, there is a chance for a special partnership, capable of matching up with anyone.
In a little more than a year on the job, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has also built a war chest of draft assets, including 11 first-round picks over the next seven seasons, to chase star talent over the life of Ingram’s contract. Ingram’s re-signing assures New Orleans of a bright future, a remarkable development following the trade request by Davis, one of the league’s biggest stars.
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Friday, Nov. 20
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