NBA Rumor: Brandon Ingram Free Agency

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Max deals expected for Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell

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Instead, the pivot point will be the length and structure of the contract. Ingram will have the opportunity to sign a “3+1” offer sheet with another team where the fourth season is a player option, like Gordon Hayward did with the Hornets back in 2014. However, Griffin can offer a five-year deal but must decide whether to include a fifth-year player option. Typically, it is hard for general managers to get max free agents to accept straight five-year contracts when a “3+1” is available since it gives the player so much more control but each situation is different. Either way, Ingram will be a Pelican next season unless Griffin and Ingram engineer a surprising sign-and-trade, which feels incredibly unlikely.

Brandon Ingram to the max?

Aside from the coaching situation, NBA personnel in and outside of the bubble will monitor three aspects when it comes to New Orleans: 1. The Brandon Ingram question. He will be a restricted free agent in the offseason and, from people I speak to, has been viewed as a maximum-level player. Teams and agents around the NBA are all awaiting the league’s updated financial estimates for the salary cap over the next month-plus. How will those updates factor in the Ingram equation?

Ingram could have decided to sit out the resumption of the season at Walt Disney World, which is optional for players if they’re OK with a few checks being a little lighter. He likely still would have commanded nine-figure offers. But Ingram said the thought never crossed his mind. “I didn’t look at it like I had a choice of going or not,” Ingram said. “My teammates knew I didn’t question it or anything. I just wanted to play basketball at the end of the day. I always go back to me being hurt. It made me want to come out and play basketball all the time. When I got the chance to do it, I was going to go do it and be full force in it. I know my teammates know I’m there 100%, 110%. I’ve got to be there. It wasn’t a question.”

Right now, Ingram’s focus is on making the playoffs for the first time in his career. Once the Pelicans are finished in Florida, he’ll turn his attention toward free agency. “I think that’s more for after the season,” Ingram said. “This season, I was just so focused being with my teammates and playing basketball. With how last year went, with how I couldn’t finish the season, this year was just about going out where I belong and that I could excel in this new space. I think playing in this, it could help me out.”

You didn’t come to terms with New Orleans before this season on a contract extension, making you a restricted free agent next offseason. How are you taking that situation? Brandon Ingram: I grew up playing basketball. I never thought about how much money I was going to get in the league. I always just said, ‘I just want to play basketball.’ I think everything is going to handle itself out. Me and Griff [David Griffin, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations] have had conversations and I just came off a major injury that could have taken me out for the rest of my life, which was a blood clot. It’s a decision for him. ‘Are we going to do this at the right number? Are we going to just throw some extra money and say be here? Or are we going to do it the right way, and say let the thing linger around or take over a year or whatever time it seems to get fully healthy?’
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July 31, 2021 | 4:05 pm EDT Update