Here’s why Brandon Ingram makes sense for the Los Angeles Lakers

Brandon Ingram has been linked to the team that drafted him. The Los Angeles Lakers make sense for Ingram as he enters the prime of his career.
Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three
Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

Free agency has barely begun and there has already been chatter permeating throughout the league about which NBA players will end up where. Which superstars will flee to a different team? Who will end up negotiating a deal and staying with the franchise they were already with? The chaos has only just commenced. 

For the Los Angeles Lakers, ever since LeBron James opted out of his contract on June 29—with the notion that he intends to re-sign with Los Angeles, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic—much has been said about who the team should try to go after.

D’Angelo Russell has now opted in. Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish have done the same. Who will the Lakers surround LeBron and Anthony Davis with in order to get back into championship contention? 

One name that has been thrown into the mix is Brandon Ingram

With reports that Ingram may have played his final season in a Pelicans uniform, per NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers should target him this offseason. He would only end up with the Lakers by trade, as he still has a year left on his maximum contract with the Pelicans, but nevertheless, he makes sense for the purple and gold.

First off, adding Ingram to the roster would give the Lakers another scoring option for their starting lineup. 

Ingram has proven he can get buckets and his presence on this Lakers team would help stretch the floor and space the Lakers’ offense. That’s something the Lakers need. It can’t all fall on LeBron and Anthony Davis. 

Additionally, Russell, if he isn’t ultimately traded, has proven to be touch and go from the field the last couple of seasons, so the Lakers need someone else who can add 18 to 20 points a night. That way, the Lakers have another option to lean on when LeBron is on the bench so AD isn't overwhelmed by carrying such a monumental offensive load. 

Ingram also has ties to new Lakers head coach JJ Redick. 

The two not only share the same alma mater in Duke University, but Ingram and Redick were teammates in New Orleans during the 2019-20 season and part of the 2020-21 season. 

Ingram and Redick have a shared history in that way and Redick is already uber-familiar with Ingram’s game having shared the court with him, so adding Ingram to a Redick-led roster would be a seamless transition. 

Ingram has also previously shared the court with LeBron, as Ingram has worn the purple and gold before. He was drafted second overall in the 2016 NBA Draft to the Lakers and he and LeBron were paired alongside Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart during the 2018-19 season.

This would give LeBron and Ingram a chance to reunite on the Lakers, this time with a strong chance of contending for the title. 

A former Most Improved Player of the Year, Ingram has come a long way from his days with the Lakers. His time with the Pelicans has served him well, as he went from scoring 9.4 points per game as a rookie on the Lakers to 20.8 points per game with New Orleans this past season.

It’s time he returns to Los Angeles for a fresh start and to help the team he was drafted by get back over the hump in the playoffs—a task which he was unable to accomplish in his first stint with the team. 

For Ingram, who knows how things will shake out with the Pelicans down the road? 

On paper, yes, New Orleans seems like a legit contender in the Western Conference. Adding Dejounte Murray to a roster with Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum seems like a big step in the right direction. But with Williamson’s health and Murray’s time in New Orleans potentially not panning out for the Pelicans like his stint in Atlanta, it’s hard to say.

Thus, the Lakers should trade for Ingram and in doing that, immediately move into serious title contention with his addition to the roster.