New Orleans Pelicans small forward Brandon Ingram will become a restricted free agent on Friday. He can sign an offer sheet with another team if he wants to. If that happens, the Pelicans would have 48 hours to match the offer sheet or let the talented swingman walk in free agency.
During the 2019-20 regular season, Ingram appeared in 62 games. He made his first All-Star team and finished the campaign with averages of 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from beyond the arc and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line.
Ingram won the 2020 Most Improved Player of the Year Award. He’s expected to get paid handsomely this offseason after his breakout season in New Orleans.
With that being said, here are three ideal landing spots for Brandon Ingram in free agency.
It makes all the sense in the world for the Pelicans to quickly re-sign Ingram once free agency opens. The former Los Angeles Lakers swingman has said time and time again he wants to stay in New Orleans. Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin has echoed those sentiments as well, as he certainly doesn’t want to lose the best player the Pelicans got in the Anthony Davis trade.
If they were smart, Griffin and the Pelicans won’t even let Ingram take a meeting with another team. Once the 2020 free agency period officially starts, New Orleans should have a max contract offer ready for Ingram to sign. BI is likely going to be a multi-time All-Star and one of the faces of the Pelicans for the next decade alongside Zion Williamson.
Ingram can score from all three areas of the court. His length makes it almost impossible for opposing defenders to block his shot from the midrange. As he gets stronger and more knowledgeable about the NBA game, we could see Ingram become a perennial 25.0 points per game scorer in the NBA.
The Pelicans, who have a new head coach in Stan Van Gundy, have said all the right things about Ingram’s free agency. Now, it’s time for the franchise to put their money where their mouth is.
If for some strange reason the Pelicans and Ingram don’t agree to a deal early in the free agency process, the Atlanta Hawks should swoop in and try and steal Ingram away from New Orleans.
The Hawks desperately need another high-level scorer alongside All-Star point guard Trae Young. The pick-and-pop sets the Hawks could run with Young and Ingram would be deadly since Young is already one of the best passers in the NBA and Ingram is a knockdown shooter when given ample space to operate with.
If Atlanta got Ingram, head coach Lloyd Pierce could throw out a starting lineup of Young, Kevin Huerter, Ingram, De’Andre Hunter and John Collins. While that lineup would probably be defensively challenged, the Hawks would undoubtedly be difficult to stop on offense with three 20-point scorers in Young, Ingram and Collins.
To make the playoffs with Young, the Hawks need more talent around the floor general. The franchise has cap space to sign Ingram to a max deal as well.
The New York Knicks have been a walking disaster for years, but things could change now that Leon Rose is the president of basketball operations and Tom Thibodeau is the new head coach. Every player in the NBA, whether they admit it or not, dreams about playing in Madison Square Garden on a consistent basis.
With that being said, Ingram and his camp should see if the Knicks are willing to offer him a max deal in restricted free agency if things get sour with the Pelicans. New York could promise Ingram all the shots in the world since the team doesn’t have a clear No. 1 option on offense.
Thibodeau loves versatile scorers such as Ingram who can impact the game even if their shot isn’t falling. A frontcourt of Ingram, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson looks pretty good on paper as well.
No matter what team he’s playing for in 2020-21, Brandon Ingram is likely going to get paid. He’s earned the money that is coming his way after bouncing back from his scary blood clot issue that almost ended his career.