New Orleans Pelicans Could Go Completely Different Direction with Brandon Ingram

The New Orleans Pelicans could pivot to a different direction with star forward Brandon Ingram.
 Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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The New Orleans Pelicans came into the NBA offseason widely expected to trade star forward Brandon Ingram. While there were a lot of rumors that popped up, no trade has materialized.

Ingram remains on the roster and the potential trade destinations have started drying up.

Now, it appears that the two sides could head in a very different direction from the rumors at the start of the offseason.

According to a report from William Guillory of The Athletic, the Pelicans and Ingram have "some optimism" about coming together on a new contract to keep him on the team.

"Without an Ingram trade, the Pelicans would have to find some middle ground with their forward on an extension. There's some optimism within the building that the two sides could come to terms on a deal that makes each happy."

Guillory has also reported that the two sides don't want to reach preseason without something in place. The team also doesn't want to see Ingram walk away in free agency next offseason for free.

Keeping Ingram is not a bad thing for New Orleans. He is an elite scorer and has been a huge part of helping the Pelicans get back to playoff contention.

During the 2023-24 NBA season, Ingram ended up averaging 20.8 points per game to go along with 5.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds. He shot 49.2 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 35.5 percent of his three-point attempts.

At just 26 years of age, Ingram is in the prime of his career. Even if the Pelicans do sign him to a long-term extension, he'll retain his trade value. A new contract simply gives a team that acquires him a guaranteed amount of years to keep him in town.

New Orleans has been busy this offseason. The trade for star guard Dejounte Murray makes them an even more serious contender in the Western Conference.

A lineup of Zion Williamson, Ingram, C.J. McCollum, and Murray, along with whoever they start at center, would be dangerous. They could even go small-ball with Williamson playing center at times.

All of that being said, the Pelicans have built a roster that can legitimately compete with the best of the best in the West. Ingram is going to be a big part of that, assuming he ends up staying.

Evan Massey