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NBA trade rumors: Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram linked with struggling East franchise

Could BI go from a West contender to an East bottom dweller?



Feb 1, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) reacts after getting ejected from the game during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Ingram is no stranger to the NBA rumor mill, but it appears the time has come for the New Orleans Pelicans to finally part with their all-star wing.

The 26-year-old is eligible for a four-year, $208 million contract extension this summer, but in his quest to radically change the roster around Zion Williamson, Pels General Manager David Griffin is expected to move on from Ingram. Instead, New Orleans will reportedly offer a new deal to fellow forward Trey Murphy III, who’s three years younger, prepared for a more significant role and comes at a lower price.

The Pelicans’ record has improved each of the past three seasons under head coach Willie Green, but the team has only won two playoff games during that stretch.

That’s the apparent motivation for sweeping roster changes Griffin said at his end-of-season exit interview per

“For very large chunks of the season, we had the second-best net rating in the league and if not for Boston, we would’ve looked like the best team in the league. I also think we had stretches where you could see we had a lot of room for growth and improvement we needed to make.

“I think in the past we’ve always erred on the side of continuity, and our takeaway has always been ‘Let’s see this group healthy.’ (Now) I think we’ve seen this group enough.

“Because it is a historically good Western Conference, there are teams that didn’t make the playoffs that are going to get radically better this offseason. We need to do the same. I think you’ll see a real sense of urgency from all of us to do that.”

Pairing that “sense of urgency” with the news that New Orleans won’t offer Ingram a contract extension makes the next step in this process fairly obvious. But where could BI land if he does move elsewhere this summer?

Brandon Ingram linked with Detroit Pistons

Ingram has a history of injuries and can be a ball-stopper at times, but he’s still one of the best wing scorers and playmakers in the league.

Since his all-star season in 2020, he’s averaged 23.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists with 47/37/85 shooting splits. He scored 27 points per game and shot 41 percent from three against the Phoenix Suns in the 2021-22 playoffs.

But his fit with Zion Williamson is clunky at best and a parting of the ways makes sense for both him and the Pelicans.

The Pistons, meanwhile, are coming off a legendarily futile season that featured a 28-game losing streak and a final record of 14-68, the worst in franchise history. Detroit has potential stars like Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, but the nucleus of its roster is age 22 or younger. The Pistons could use an infusion of established veteran talent; enter Ingram.

Per James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, the eight-year pro would make sense in Detroit:

Do I think Ingram is a difference-maker? For a team like the Pistons, trying to go from terrible to, at least, decent, next season, I do. He’s just entering his prime, fits a position of need and technically does bring All-Star pedigree to a roster that has none.

Does Detroit have the assets New Orleans desires? If the Pelicans are hoping to make the leap to championship contender next season, maybe not. But Ingram is likely going somewhere and the Pistons make sense as a landing spot.

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Andrew Hanlon is the Assistant Editor for The Dunk Central. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has been writing about sports professionally for more than a decade. He started out covering local high school sports before transitioning into a full-time NBA connoisseur. He has been published on FanSided, SBNation and Sportscasting.