NBA exec suggests Lakers reunite with past star to build for the future

As the Los Angeles Lakers weigh their offseason options, one Eastern Conference executive believes the past holds the key to unlocking the franchise's future.
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The arrival of Anthony Davis provided the Los Angeles Lakers with the unrivaled value of hanging a 17th championship banner. In the process of acquiring Davis, however, the Lakers parted ways with several players who have since gone on to become quality contributors around the NBA.

One rival executive seems to believe that the next step forward for a Los Angeles team with its eye on the future is to bring one of those players back from the past.

The Davis trade was one of the most significant deals of the past decade. In return for the nine-time All-Star, the New Orleans Pelicans received a package centered around the likes of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram.

According to Sean Deveney of, one NBA executive believes that bringing Ingram back to Los Angeles could be the best way to help the franchise contend again.

"It’s an idea, if they’re willing to take the chance," one East GM said. "Brandon [Ingram] as a third option with LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis, it certainly makes them better, it gets them back to being a contender, or at least in that orbit."

It's important to clarify that this is not a rumor about what the Lakers intend to do, but instead a theory of what one Eastern Conference general manager believes the franchise should attempt.

Five years after the Lakers traded Brandon Ingram, could a return to L.A. be the answer for both sides?

Ingram, 26, is arguably the best player of those who were shipped out during the Davis trade. He's averaged upwards of 20.8 points per game in each of his five seasons with the Pelicans and has simultaneously developed into one of the best wing facilitators in the NBA.

Over the past three seasons, Ingram has accumulated averages of 22.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 three-point field goals made on .479/.354/.835 shooting.

Those numbers would be impressive outright, but they're especially intriguing given the circumstances within which Ingram has operated. He's been tasked with carrying the unenvious burden of alternating between No. 1 and No. 2 roles without any sign of consistency.

This is not necessarily a product of Ingram's abilities, but instead the unfortunate reality of how the Pelicans have attempted to navigate Zion Williamson's injury and availability issues.

In 2022-23, when Williamson appeared in just 29 games, Ingram averaged a career-high 24.7 points and 5.8 assists with a slash line of .484/.390/.882. It was an intriguing look at what the 2020 NBA Most Improved Player award-winner is capable of when he can establish some semblance of a rhythm.

Injuries have admittedly been an issue for Ingram in the past, but he appeared in 62 out of 72 games in 2019-20, 61 out of 72 in 2020-21, and fell just one game shy of the coveted 65 in 2023-24.

There's much to consider on the Lakers' side of the trade conversation, but perhaps Ingram, the player Los Angeles drafted at No. 2 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, could be the answer after all. If not, there's a sense of comfort to be found in the fact that 2024-25 is the last season on his current contract.

After one year, the Lakers would be able to make a final determination on whether or not Ingram can be the player they always imagined he would be.

Yet another captivating possibility in what is sure to be an offseason that is flush with calculated risks.